Former Junior Foreign Minister MJ Akbar
Former Junior Foreign Minister MJ Akbar

Scribe backs MJ Akbar in defamation suit against Priya Ramani

ANI | Updated: Nov 12, 2018 16:49 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 12 (ANI): Journalist Joyeeta Basu, who recorded her statement as a witness in the defamation case filed by former Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar against Priya Ramani, said neither did she face any incident of sexual misconduct from Akbar nor did she witness similar incidents with anybody else in her presence, while she was working with him.
Praising Akbar, Basu, in her statement recorded in the Patiala House Court said, "I have worked with Akbar for around 15 years. His behaviour with me was also impeccable. In office, he was a perfect professional and a tough-task-master with the entire office. I have known him for 20 years. I have not heard anything untoward from the staff of the organisation in which we have worked together."
Refuting allegations of sexual misconduct leveled on Akbar by Priya Ramani, Basu called them 'misplaced and unfounded'. "On Nov 8, I read a tweet by Priya Ramani and also looked at the link (of an article). I was shocked, disappointed, embarrassed. In spite of my experience with him, his reputation, his image took a beating in my eyes on reading the article/tweet. After that I reasoned with myself and thought whether it was reasonable, given my experience, that I should believe the aspersions cast on him. I realised they were misplaced and unfounded as my experience over the past two decades had shown him to be a perfect gentleman and his behaviour had been exemplary," she said.
"I felt the need to defend him and on October 9, I tweeted that he was the best boss I had worked with. I have seen the tweets on October 10 and 13, 2018 by Priya Ramani. The effect of the tweets was that though I may have overcome my fears, but I know that a number of questions raised by people have personally destroyed and damaged his image irreparably," she added.
Reiterating Akbar's stand, she said, "After reading these tweets, I feel that they were made intentionally with a purpose to harm Akbar's reputation and goodwill."
As many as 20 women, one after another, have come forward and accused Akbar of sexually harassing them during his journalistic days. The storm around the 67-year-old gathered momentum after the #MeToo campaign raged in India.
Akbar has been facing flak over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women. In the wake of the allegations, he resigned from his post on October 17. (ANI)

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