Former Union minister MJ Akbar on Saturday recorded his statement in the defamation case he filed against journalist Priya Ramani.
He deposed before the Court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Delhi and denied the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled by Ramani during the #MeToo movement.
Akbar claimed that Ramani's tweets alleging sexual harassment had caused "irreplaceable damage" to his reputation.
Akbar appeared before Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court
Former Union Minister MJ Akbar appears before Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court in connection with his defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani. Also appearing in court is Priya Ramani. Akbar to record his statement as Ramani pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/5dI94dEbTl
Akbar had filed the defamation case against Ramani in October 2018 after she posted a series of tweets alleging sexual harassment by him. Later in January, the Patiala House Court had also issued summons to Ramani.
In February, she was granted bail on a surety of Rs. 10,000. Earlier, on 10 April, Ramani had pleaded not guilty in the defamation lawsuit.
Akbar was also cross-examined by Ramani's counsel
Akbar appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal on Saturday. He was also cross-examined by Ramani's counsel.
The former Union minister response to most questions, however, was "I do not remember," maintaining Ramani's allegations were "malafide" and "defamatory".
Also, his counsel repeatedly disrupted proceedings, objecting to several questions raised by Ramani's counsel. The cross-examination was deferred; it will continue on 20 May.
Hope the judge will acquit her: Ramani's counsel
"We are looking to make it clear that women no longer accept sexual harassment at the workplace," said Rebecca John, who is representing Ramani in this case.
"I hope all of this will come out in the testimony of the various witnesses that we will produce. It is my hope that at the end of it, the judge will acquit her," she added.
Akbar resigned as Union minister in October
Akbar was as the Minister of State for External Affairs in PM Narendra Modi's cabinet. The journalist-turned-politician, however, resigned as a Union minister on 17 October 2018 after Ramani accused him of sexual harassment.