Day after breaking silence on the #MeToo allegations, Union Minister MJ Akbar, today filed a private criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani, who recently levelled charges of sexual misconduct against him as the #MeToo campaign raged in India.The Minister of State for External Affairs has accused Ramani of “willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously” defaming him and has sought her prosecution under the penal provision on defamation.
Akbar, who is facing charges of sexual harassment and wrongdoing by around a dozen women journalists, earlier on Sunday called the allegations “false, wild and baseless” and vowed to take legal action against the accusers. While Akbar issued a statement, there was no word from the government or the ruling BJP as to whether he would continue in the government amidst opposition demands for his resignation.
In his defamation suit, Akbar has accused her of “willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously defaming” him on “completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds” and harming his goodwill and reputation. Interestingly, Akbar is being represented by 97 lawyers, all from Karanjawala & Co, the same firm is defending former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who has also been accused of sexual harassment and is currently out on bail.