MJ Akbar-Priya Ramani defamation case: Journalist Ghazala Wahab denies of acting in malice against the former Union Minister
Journalist and author Ghazala Wahab denied a suggestion from advocate Geeta Luthra, Akbar's counsel, which said that she had maliciously concocted a fictional story about her sexual harassment to malign the reputation of Akbar.
Journalist and author Ghazala Wahab appeared before the court for her cross-examination regarding the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani who had accused him of sexual harassment in 2018.
Wahab denied a suggestion from advocate Geeta Luthra, Akbar's counsel, which said that she had maliciously concocted a fictional story about her sexual harassment to malign the reputation of Akbar.
She also denied that she made a complaint against Akbar only after he became a minister in the BJP government only 'to damage his political career.'
After journalist and author Ghazala Wahab gave her statement on 10 December, she was present before the court on Wednesday for her cross-examination, conducted by Advocate Geeta Luthra, on the MJ Akbar criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani.
Luthra began by questioning Wahab whether she knew about the provision of sexual harassment in the IPC, to which Wahab refused. When asked something about the Vishakha Guidelines, Wahab said she "knew of it as a news item" and that she didn't know what implications it has at the workplace, as reported by The Live Law.
Wahab also added that she was not aware of the fact that Vishakha Guidelines were in terms of the CEDAW Convention and that it was recognised in India. Luthra then asked Wahab whether she knew the fact that Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act was enacted in 2013, to which Wahab replied saying that as a journalist she was aware of it.
Luthra put in front of the court multiple suggestions to Wahab stating that her facts were false and that no such incident (as stated by Wahab yesterday in the court) ever happened to her. Wahab denied all of it and said it's wrong to suggest that she didn't make any complaint against Akbar. She also denied a suggestion from Luthra which stated that she had maliciously concocted a fictional story about her sexual harassment to malign the reputation of Akbar. She further denied that she made these allegations against the former Union Minister to gain publicity.
Wahab denied suggestions put to her by Luthra regarding submitting false affidavits under section 65B of Evidence Act and that the chat group (using the Intranet Messaging Service) — she had mentioned yesterday in her statement through which Akbar allegedly sent private messages — doesn't exist. Luthra also suggested that the article published in The Wire carried a false narrative and "it was written to further damage the reputation of Akbar." Wahab denied this along with another suggestion made by Luthra that said Wahab made a complaint against Akbar only after he became a minister in the BJP government only "to damage his political career."
Luthra also suggested that Wahab was deposing falsely on the behest of her friend Ramani to damage the reputation of Akbar, to which advocate Rebecca M John, Ramani's counsel, objected to saying, "You need to ask her a question on her friendship with Ramani separately." Wahab denied Luthra's suggestion.
That concluded Wahab's cross-examination procedure. The case has now been listed for final arguments in January.
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