MJ Akbar #MeToo case: ‘Priya Ramani had no right to accuse me in sexual harassment’

New Delhi: Former Union Minister MJ Akbar told a Delhi court on Thursday that journalist Priya Ramani had no right to accuse me in sexual harassment, which allegedly took place decades ago as she could not prove it.

He said that measures were always available against malpractices at the workplace and Ramani’s allegations were not in good faith or in the public interest.

Akbar, through senior counsel Geeta Luthra in front of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar during a final hearing in a criminal complaint filed against him, allegedly defamed of sexual harassment 20 years ago when he was a journalist.

Ramani accused Akbar in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018. Ramani called Akbar the biggest predator of the media. When you put asphalt on someone, you have to show evidence and what you have investigated. After 25–30 years, you do not go to court. You say that there was no law. What is this law that has not existed since 1860, ”Luthra asked.

She said that there was no evidence, evidence, or verification of the allegation that Ramani had made. “There is no truth in this witness (Ramani). There is no proof, proof, or verification. Irresponsible statements were made like someone being called a hunter, ”she said.

He said that there were thousands of tweets in newspapers, magazines. What else would he have done to harm my (Akbar) reputation? It did not come at any cost to him. The cost is to Akbar. “For him, it was said to be due to irresponsible procedure without some good faith. It is not in goodwill. I can say that it is not in the public interest. He has no basis for calling him a hunter,” he said.

The lawyer further said that Ramani attacked Akbar and his charges spread like wildfire.

“Measures against malpractice at the workplace were always available. You cannot charge after 2-3 decades without due process. Because you cannot prove it and it is wrong, you do not have the right to do so. Ramani attacked Akbar and his tweets and accusations spread like wildfire.

The court will hear the matter on January 18.

Akbar filed a criminal defamation complaint against Ramani on October 15, 2018. He resigned as Union Minister on October 17, 2018.

‘MeToo is not a bullet train’: an actress who started the movement in Bollywood. Akbar had earlier told the court that Ramani had maligned him with adjectives such as ‘the biggest predator of the media’, damaging his reputation.

More than 20 women reported about the alleged sexual harassment by Akbar when they were working as journalists under him. He called the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply disturbing” and said that he was taking appropriate legal action against them.