Defamatory nature of false charges caused damage: MJ Akbar in court
New Delhi: MJ Akbar, who resigned as junior foreign minister amid sexual harassment allegations raised in #MeToo campaign in India, testified in Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Wednesday. Akbar had filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani.
Akbar, in his statement, said, “I’ve filed criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani for a series of tweets that she published. First one came to my notice on my return from my official tour. The tweet had a link to an article in a magazine called vogue.”
“The defamatory/offending portion in particular apart from the rest of the article is when she (journalist Priya Ramani) referred to me a “talented predator” and an expert on “so-and-so”. Opening sentence of her tweet explained one anomaly. When article was 1st 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,” Akbar added.
Continuing his statement, Akbar also said that there was immediate damage because of the scurrilous nature of the concocted and false allegations. He said he 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 said.
Delhi’s Patiala House Court has now fixed November 12 as the next date of hearing and witnesses will record their statements.