Former junior foreign minister MJ Akbar
Former junior foreign minister MJ Akbar

Priya Ramani's tweets harmed my reputation: MJ Akbar

ANI | Updated: Oct 31, 2018 19:18 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 31 (ANI): Former junior foreign minister MJ Akbar on Wednesday recorded his statement before a Delhi court in the defamation case filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani, who had accused him of sexual misconduct.
Akbar told the court that Ramani's tweets have defamed his reputation and social standing, while specifically objecting to being called a 'talented predator'.
"I have filed a criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani for the series of tweets that she published. The first one that came to my notice on my return from my official tour had a link to an article in a magazine called Vogue. The defamatory portion in particular, apart from the rest of the article, is when she referred to me a 'talented predator' and an expert on 'so-and-so," Akbar told Delhi's Patiala House Court.
"The tweets on October 10 and 13 have caused defamation to my reputation and social standing. The tweets were picked up by various newspapers and on social media," he added.
Akbar, while decoding Ramani's tweet, said the anomaly was in the first sentence itself. "When the article was first published in Vogue, it didn't include my name. When she was asked about it, she said it was because 'I had done nothing'. Clearly, she was advised by Vogue that including my name would invite liability," he explained.
"There was an immediate damage because of the scurrilous nature of the concocted and false allegations. I was attacked about the alleged and fabricated non-events. I chose to seek justice in my personal capacity without the appurtenance of the office and that's why I resigned," Akbar told the court.
As many as 20 women, one after another, have come forward and accused Akbar of sexually harassing them during his journalist days. The storm around 67-year-old gathered momentum after the #MeToo campaign raged in India.
Akbar had been facing flak over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women, with opposition parties also mounting attack on the government and demanding his ouster. Akbar resigned from his cabinet post on October 17.
The Patiala House Court has fixed November 12 as the next date of hearing, during which witnesses will record their statements. (ANI)