#MeToo: After exiting Modi cabinet, MJ Akbar to stand in court for his defamation case

The 67-year-old journalist-turned-politician stepped down Wednesday after several women accused him of sexual harassment during his days as the editor.

#MeToo: After exiting Modi cabinet, MJ Akbar to stand in court for his defamation case

New Delhi: Former minister MJ Akbar's defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani who accused him of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago will be up for hearing in Delhi's Patiala House court on Thursday.

The 67-year-old journalist-turned-politician stepped down Wednesday after several women accused him of sexual harassment during his days as editor of several publications. President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the resignation with "immediate effect".

The former minister of state for External Affairs tweeted out his resignation, adding that he will fight out the matter in his personal capacity.

"Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of Minister of State for External Affairs. I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and to the External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country," Akbar said in his brief letter. 

 

 

Akbar's lawyer Sandeep Kapur, from law firm Karanjawala & Co, said that the private criminal defamation case will come up for hearing on Thursday before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal.

Akbar on Monday had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani alleging she "wilfully" and "maliciously" made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing.

Following minister's resignation, Ramani tweeted “As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo”

Over the last fortnight, about 20 women have come forward to narrate their experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Akbar.

On Tuesday, around 19 women journalists, who have worked with 'The Asian Age' newspaper, had come out in support of their colleague Ramani, a joint statement issued by them had said.

The journalists had urged the court to hear their testimonies against Akbar, claiming that some of them suffered sexual harassment by the minister and others have been witness to it. 

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