M J Akbar cross-examined in defamation case
Former Union minister M J Akbar’s cross-examination continued on Monday in the criminal defamation suit that he filed against journalist Priya Ramani.
He filed the suit after Ramani last year accused Akbar of sexual misconduct in 1993 when he was the editor and proprietor of the Asian Age, and she was applying for a job at the paper.
Akbar was forced to resign as the minister of state for external affairs in November 2018 after Ramani was among the women, who accused him of harassing them. On Monday, Akbar denied meeting Ramani at Mumbai’s Oberoi hotel for a job interview.
“Since there was no meeting, therefore it is wrong to suggest that I did not ask Ms Priya Ramani about her writing skills, her knowledge of current affairs or her ability to enter the world of journalism,” he said. “Further, since I did not meet her on that day, I do not know whether she felt unnerved by my behaviour.”
Senior counsel Rebecca John cross-examined Akbar. Akbar’s lawyer, Geeta Luthra, objected to several questions, saying they did not pertain to the case. However, John cited the Indian Evidence Act, and the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal agreed to decide on their admissibility after final arguments were presented by both sides. The cross-examination will continue on July 6.
On April 10, Ramani pleaded not guilty before the court and claimed trial after the court framed defamation charges against her on a criminal complaint of Akbar.
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