A Delhi court on Monday granted bail to journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar after the latter was accused of serious sexual misconduct nearly two dozen women.
Ramani appeared before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate as she made a plea for exemption from personal appearance. Senior advocate Rebecca John moved in the bail plea on behalf of Ramani. The ACMM granted her the bail while adjourning the case till 10 April.
Akbar did not appear in the court today prompting John to ask, “In a complaint case, complainant should be here but he isn’t.” Ramani told news agency ANI, “The next date when they will frame the charges against me is April 10. After that it will be my turn to tell my story. The truth is my defence.”
Several senior journalists were present in the court. They included Rajdeep Sardesai, Nidhi Razdan and Suhasini Haidar among others. Razdan later tweeted, “Great show of support at a Delhi court today by journalists for @priyaramani in the defamation case filed against her by @mjakbar. We all stand by Priya in this fight.”
Akbar, who had to resign from the government in the aftermath of allegations of sexual predatory against him, made by nearly two dozen women journalists who previously worked under him.
Last year, Akbar had told the Delhi’s Patiala House Court that the allegations of sexual misconduct against him by journalist Priya Ramani had lowered his reputation in the eyes of the public.
After Ramani wrote her experience about Akbar, nearly two dozen female journalists have come forward alleging serious sexual misconduct against Akbar during his time as the editor of The Asian Age and The Telegraph.
Akbar had filed the criminal defamation case against Ramani in Delhi’s Patiala House Court through his advocates Karanjawala and Co. Ramani had received an unprecedented support from across India. As many as 20 journalists had volunteered to testify against Akbar.
Without naming Akbar, Ramani had written how the journalist-turned-politician had invited her to her hotel room for a job interview. Admitting that she was a fan of Akbar’s journalism, Ramani wrote, “It was more date, less interview. You offered me a drink from the mini bar (I refused, you drank vodka), we sat on a small table for two that overlooked the Queen’s Necklace (how romantic!) and you sang me old Hindi songs after inquiring after my musical preferences. You thought you were irresistible.”
Earlier this month, a US-based journalist Pallavi Gogoi had accused him of rape. Responding to Gogoi’s rape allegations, both Akbar and his wife Mallika Akbar had claimed that the journalist was in a consensual relationship.