A Delhi court on Tuesday issued summons to journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal has asked Ramani to appear before the court on February 25. Priya Ramani has been summoned as an accused in the case.
Akbar's counsel and senior advocate Geeta Luthra and lawyer Sandeep Kapur told the court that Ramani had damaged Akbar's reputation which he had built over the years through hard work.
During the last hearing held on January 22, Akbarâ€™s counsel had told the court that Ramani's language was â€˜extremely defamatoryâ€™ and had requested the court to issue a summons against Priya Ramani as an accused in the case.
MJ Akbar, who stepped down as the Minister of State of External Affairs after allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment were levelled against him, had moved the Delhi court against journalist Priya Ramani, who was the first in the long list of women who had spoken out against him.
On January 11, the court recorded the statements of seven witnesses, including that of Akbar, who is now with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Rajya Sabha MP has denied all charges against him as "false, wild and baseless" and has stated that he will be fighting the case in his personal capacity.
A total of sixteen women have named MJ Akbar in online posts accusing him of sexual harassment and misconduct. All the women were working as employees under MJ Akbar when he was a journalist.
There was a common pattern to survivors' accounts â€” he would set up job interviews with aspiring women journalists in hotel rooms, repeatedly call them to his office cabin for meaningless conversation and chatter, entice them with major stories, send them out of the workplace and meet them at a hotel at odd hours.