Woman editor comes out in support of Akbar

New Delhi: The Sunday Guardian Editor Joyeeta Basu on Monday put up a strong defence for former Union Minister M.J. Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women journalists

Appearing in a Delhi court as a complainant witness in the defamation case filed by Akbar against woman journalist Priya Ramani, Basu said the defamatory tweets by Ramani had irreparably damaged Akbar’s reputation.

Basu told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal: “…after reading these tweets by Priya Ramani, I feel that they were made intentionally with a purpose to harm Akbar’s reputation and goodwill in the eyes of the society.”

Basu, who has worked with Akbar for around 15 years, said that his behaviour with her was impeccable.

“He was a perfect professional and a tough task-master with the entire office. I have not heard anything untoward from the staff of the organisation in which we have worked together,” she said.

Basu told the court that she had always held Akbar in high regard.

“Akbar has always been a thorough professional and a brilliant teacher who taught me all aspects of journalism,” she said.

The court will take up the case again on December 7.

The court was hearing the defamation case against Ramani filed by the former Minister of State for External Affairs, a journalist-turned-politician who is now with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Ramani was the first in a long list of women journalists to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment.

A Rajya Sabha member, Akbar, has denied all the charges against him as “false, wild and baseless”.

Akbar has listed names of two senior women journalists — Joyeeta Basu and Veenu Sandal — besides four others as his witnesses to prove his defamation charges against Ramani.