Sun, 05 Jul 2020

New Delhi [India], May 20 (ANI): Former Union Minister MJ Akbar further cross-examined on Monday by the senior advocate Rebecca John, the counsel of journalist Priya Ramani in connection with a defamation case filed by him against Ramani in a sexual harassment case.

Rebecca asked several questions regarding an alleged meeting in a hotel room, The Vogue article written by Priya Ramani, tweets and allegations made by other female journalists against MJ Akbar in today's cross-examination.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal presided over the proceedings of the court on Monday before adjourning the matter to July 6.

Akbar during cross-examination denied meeting with Priya Ramani in a hotel room.

Akbar said, "It is incorrect to suggest that I called Priya Ramani to come to my room. It is wrong to suggest that she was hesitant or that I insisted. It is correct that in December 1993 I was 42 years old and Priya Ramani was 23 years old. I do not know whether it was the first job interview by Priya Ramani after her graduation."Akbar then went on to add, "I am not sure whether Priya Ramani was offered a job in Asian Age newspaper in January 1994 in Delhi Office. As it is a 25 years old matter and to the best of my knowledge, she was working in Bombay office."Ramani had on April 10 pleaded not guilty before the court and claimed trial after the court framed defamation charges against her on a criminal complaint of Akbar.

In one of the past hearings, the ACMM had also granted a permanent exemption to Ramani from personal appearance in the hearings to follow.

In February, Ramani was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 10,000. Ramani was the first woman to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment during the MeToo campaign.

Akbar had filed a defamation case against the journalist for accusing him of sexual misconduct.

The allegations levelled against him forced him to resign from the Union Cabinet on October 17, 2018. (ANI)

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