#MeToo: Former colleagues testify for MJ Akbar

NEW DELHI: Two former colleagues recorded the statements in support of the defamation case filed by journalist and former Union Minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani.

The two witnesses Veenu Sandal, journalist, tarot card reader and Sunil Gujral, printer and publisher of weekly newspaper The Sunday Guardian who had worked with Akbar in the past depose in support of Akbar before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal on Friday.

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Sandal, in her deposition, said she knew Mr. Akbar for the last 20 years. Minister.

“In his dealings with me, he has always been a complete professional and a person of high integrity“, she said.

she said Akbar’s reputation was “dragged through the mud” by the tweets and articles of Priya Ramani against the former
Sandal states that after reading, she was jolted.

She informed the court that Ramani’s tweets came as a shock as not a single individual ever narrated or spoke or hinted at any misbehavior by Akbar.

“It was really shocking and very disturbing that these allegations had been made and that he could do the things that Ramani has alleged,” Bar and Bench reported.

Mr. Gujral, Akbar’s neighbor in Kolkata and was the founding editor of The Sunday Guardian said he was shocked when he heard about the allegations against Mr. Akbar. He stated that Akbar was a “fine gentleman, hardworking professional and very well respected as a journalist and an author all over India.”

He further deposed that, “I found him to be always respectful to all people both in society and working environment“, he said.

Mr. Akbar resigned from his post as the minister of state for external affairs following allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by multiple women journalists. He had termed the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply distressing.”

So far, four witnesses, including Mr. Akbar and Joyeeta Basu, editor of The Sunday Guardian have recorded their statements in the case.

The court will hear the case next on January 11 for the recording of statement of another witness.