The former Union Minister, Mr. MJ Akbar, appeared before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate,Mr. Samar Vishal, in delhi in connection with a defamation case filed by him against senior journalist Priya Ramani who had accused him of sexual misconduct.
Earlier, on May 20, Mr.Akbar had first appeared for cross-questioning and refuted Ms. Ramani's claim that he met her in a hotel room, saying that it's 'incorrect to suggest that I called Priya Ramani to come to my room.'
He also denied having any knowledge of Ms. Ramani having being offered a job at Asian Age newspaper in January 1994, when Mr. Akbar allegedly asked Ms. Ramani to come to his hotel room for her interview.
'It is correct that in December 1993 I was 42 years old and Priya Ramani was 23 years old. I do not know whether it was the first job interview by Priya Ramani after her graduation. I am not sure whether Priya Ramani was offered a job in Asian Age newspaper in January 1994 in Delhi Office. As it is a 25 years old matter and to the best of my knowledge, she was working in Bombay office,' Mr. Akbar had said.
The cross-examination took place for 3 hours in a jam-packed courtroom and involved fierce exchange of arguments between the rival counsel and senior advocates, Ms. Geeta Luthra and Ms. Rebecca John representing Ms. Ramani.
Ms. Ramani was the first woman to come call out Mr. Akbar, accusing him of predatory behaviour. After her, several other women followed suit, with each accusing the former minister of making them uncomfortable with his behavior. Notably, while most of them have admitted that he 'did not do' anything, however, two have accused him of molestation.