MJ Akbar vs Priya Ramani case: Harm done by the person who ignites the flame first, former Union Minister's legal counsel tells the court

Akbar's legal representative Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra said there was no public interest in Ramani's allegation. 'It is vindictive and actuated out of malice. The fact is you can just spoil a person's reputation.'

Press Trust of India January 18, 2021 14:52:56 IST
MJ Akbar vs Priya Ramani case: Harm done by the person who ignites the flame first, former Union Minister's legal counsel tells the court

File images of MJ Akbar and Priya Ramani. PTI

Former Union minister MJ Akbar told a Delhi court on 18 January that harm to his reputation was done by journalist Priya Ramani as she instigated and ignited the flame first when she accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place decades ago.

Akbar was replying to Ramani's argument that she was not alone but many women journalists have accused him of sexual miscount but he filed a defamation complaint only against her.

Akbar made the submission before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar through senior advocate Geeta Luthra during the final hearing in a criminal complaint filed by him against Ramani for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct, when he was a journalist more than 20 years ago.

Ramani had made an allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018.

"It doesn't matter what people say post facto. Harm is done by the man who instigates and ignites the flame first," Luthra told the court.

She said there was no public interest in Ramani's allegation.

"There is no public interest. There is no good faith. There is just some other motive. It is not for me to state it," she said.

She added: "It is vindictive and actuated out of malice. The fact is you can just spoil a person's reputation."

The court will further hear the matter on 23 January.

Akbar had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani on 15 October, 2018.

He resigned as Union minister on 17 October, 2018.

Akbar had earlier told the court that Ramani had defamed him by calling him with adjectives such as "media's biggest predator" that harmed his reputation.

He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment against the women who came forward during #MeToo campaign against him.

Over 20 women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by Akbar while they were working as journalists under him.

He termed the allegations "false, fabricated and deeply distressing" and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

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