NEW DELHI: Former Union Minister MJ Akbar on Saturday told a court that sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him by journalist Priya Ramani were not true.
Ramani has accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. Akbar told the court that prior to filing the complaint against Ramani, he was aware that several other women had made allegations against him but he did not file any complaint of defamation against any other person, international or Indian publication.
He added that he was not selective in filing a defamation suit against Ramani and did not intend to target her.
“It is 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 said.
Ramani’s tweets used language that was deeply offensive, maligning, in bad faith, and a web of fabrication spun out of lies, he said, adding that the allegations in Ramani’s articles were false.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on July 15.
During his cross-examination, Akbar was questioned by senior advocate Rebecca John about the sexual misconduct allegations made by other women journalists against him.
Akbar had resigned as the junior foreign minister on October 17 last year following the allegations levelled against him during the MeToo movement.
While terming the allegations made by Majlie De Puy Kamp, who worked with him as an intern, as “misunderstanding’, Akbar said he was not aware of an article written by his former colleague Ruth David, who accused him of sexual abuse.
“I am not aware nor have I read any articles written by Ruth David recounting instances of sexual misconduct on my part. If any article is written, the allegations are denied,” he told the court.
Akbar had earlier told the court that an “immediate damage” has been caused to him due to the concocted allegations of sexual misconduct. He had termed the allegations as “false, fabricated and deeply distressing”.
‘Allegations are false’
Akbar had told the court that an “immediate damage” has been caused to him due to the allegations. He had termed them “false, fabricated and deeply distressing”
Accused by colleagues
Priya Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. Other women scribes have also levelled accusations.