Former Union minister MJ Akbar on Tuesday told a Delhi court that journalist Priya Ramani failed to prove her charges of alleged sexual misconduct by him 20 years ago. Akbar made the submission before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar through senior advocate Geeta Luthra during the final hearing in a criminal complaint filed by him against Ramani for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Ramani had made allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018. There has to be something to prove it (meeting). It can't be in the air. You (Ramani) have to prove it. Just by calling it my truth, doens't make it the truth.
“You have not discharged the onus. You have not shown telephone record, car parking, CCTV, Luthra said, adding that Ramani's version and story is a figment of imagination. She further said that in a stroke, you finished his 50 years of hard work."
“There were remedies available in law. They were available from 1860. Fact is, anytime there is a grievance at workplace, there is availability," she said. The court will further hear the matter on January 14.
Akbar had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani in October 15, 2018. He resigned as Union minister on October 17, 2018.
Akbar had earlier told the court that Ramani had defamed him by calling him with adjectives such as 'media's biggest predator' that harmed his reputation. He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment against the women who came forward during #MeToo campaign against him.
Over 20 women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by Akbar while they were working as journalists under him. He termed the allegations false, fabricated and deeply distressing and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.