More witnesses testify in MJ Akbar’s defamation case against Priya Ramani

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday recorded the statements of two witnesses in the defamation case filed by MJ Akbar against his former colleague Priya Ramani, who had accused him of sexual misconduct.

MJ Akbar stepped down as the minister of state for external affairs in October after Ramani and a number of other women accused him of sexual harassment
MJ Akbar stepped down as the minister of state for external affairs in October after Ramani and a number of other women accused him of sexual harassment

The court fixed January 11 as the next date for recording of statements of rest of the witnesses in the case against Ramani.

Akbar’s two former colleagues, Sunil Gujral and Veenu Sandal deposed as witnesses before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal and said the allegations came as a shock to them and irreparable damage was caused to his reputation.

Two witnesses testified in favour of former Union minister MJ Akbar on Friday during the hearing of a defamation case he has filed against journalist Priya Ramani in a Delhi court
Two witnesses testified in favour of former Union minister MJ Akbar on Friday during the hearing of a defamation case he has filed against journalist Priya Ramani in a Delhi court

Dismissing all the allegations, the former editor of The Telegraph, Deccan Chronicle and The Asian Age newspapers, had said that these were “malicious, fabricated and salacious” intended to harm his reputation.

Truth and the absolute truth is my only defence, say Ramani

Priya Ramani, MJ Akbar
Journalist Priya Ramani

Ramani has said she is “ready to fight allegations of defamation laid against me, as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence”.

Gujral, a businessman and printer, publisher of the Sunday Guardian said this came as a “shock” to him and he was “very disturbed”.

“I spoke to Akbar thereafter as I felt embarrassed and let down. Besides this, my embarrassment was compounded as friends and acquaintances who knew of all my old association with Akbar of almost 40 years started asking embarrassing questions, which made me feel very bad since I felt that irreparable damage has been done to Akbar’s reputation in my estimation as well as in estimation of my friend circle and acquaintances,” Gujral, who knows Akbar sinch 1979-80, testified.

He had termed the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply distressing” and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

Expressing her readiness to fight the defamation allegations, Ramani had said, “Rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment.”

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