#MeToo: MJ Akbar sues journalist for defamation

NEW DELHI: Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar files a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani’s allegations, the first one to publically accuse Akbar of misconduct.

Akbar in Delhiā€™s Patiala House Court has filed the case through his advocates Karanjawala & Co.

The minister after landing in India, on Sunday denied the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him by several women colleagues from his journalist days.

“Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections,” said Mr Akbar, 67, in a statement. He called the allegations false, fabricated, wild and baseless, and “spiced up by innuendo”.

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In the lengthy statement, the minister has specifically replied to allegations made by women journalists.

Scribe Priya Ramani‘s allegations found the first mention. “Ms Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article. She did not, however, name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a Tweet: “Never named him because he didn’t ‘do’ anything.” If I didn’t do anything, where and what is the story? There is no story. This was admitted at the very inception,” noted the statement.

Akbar, who faced flak in the wake of the #MeToo movement, cited his official tour as the reason for the delay in reacting to the slew of allegations made against him.

However, he did not indicate any decision to step down from his position in the cabinet, contrary to media reports.