New Delhi: Former Union Minister M.J. Akbar denied the allegations, made by Journalist Priya Ramani, of any sexual misconduct, here on Saturday. Also Read - ‘He Pulled Bra Strap, Slapped on Breast’: Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’s Babita Aka Munmun Dutta's #MeToo Confession Goes Viral Again
Akbar, during cross-examination in a defamation suit, filed against Priya Ramani, said that he was not selective in filing a defamation suit against Ramani and did not intend to target her. Also Read - Indian Idol 12 Takes Anu Malik Back as Judge After #MeToo But It's Not What You Think!
“It is also wrong to suggest that Ramani’s disclosures in her tweets and articles relating to me were true and made in good faith,” the former Minister of State for External Affairs told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal. Also Read - Ali Zafar #MeToo Case: Meesha Shafi Can Face 3 Years of Imprisonment, Final Verdict on March 27
Akbar, a journalist-turned-politician, has cited seven witnesses to prove his charges against Ramani, who was the first in a long list of female journalists to accuse him of sexual harassment during the #MeToo campaign.
Priya Ramani had already pleaded not guilty in the defamation case when she appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal in April.
Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year, had filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.
Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct, a charge denied by him and labelled as “false and imaginary”. The allegations against Akbar dated back to his former career in journalism.
Ramani had revealed in October 2018 that an article she wrote in 2017 about an unnamed editor’s predatory behaviour was in fact about MJ Akbar.
The statements of seven witnesses, including that of Akbar, who is currently with the BJP, have been recorded in the defamation case.
(With Inputs from Agencies)