In Defamation Case By MJ Akbar, Priya Ramani Pleads Not Guilty

In Defamation Case By MJ Akbar,  Priya Ramani Pleads Not Guilty

In Defamation Case By MJ Akbar,  Priya Ramani Pleads Not Guilty 

New Delhi: Journalist Priya Ramani, who accused ex-Union Minister MJ Akbar of sexual misconduct pleaded not guilty, today, as a Delhi court framed charges against her in a defamation case filed by ex-Union Minister MJ Akbar, news agency PTI reported.  On February 25, the journalist was given bail on a surety of Rs. 10,000 and was asked to appear before the court again today.

"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," she had told reporters after she got bail nearly two months ago. She was represented in the court by senior lawyer Rebecca John who pointed to the absence of MJ Akbar in the court.

The case will be next heard on May 4 by the court, which also granted permanent exemption to Ms Ramani from personal appearance, as reported by news agency PTI.

The journalist, Ms Ramani was first among a number of women who accused the the editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar of sexual misconduct during his time as a media personality, forcing him to resign as the junior foreign minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet on October 17 last year. "As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar's resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court," Ms Ramani had tweeted the day he resigned.

The editor-turned-politician's legal team had told the court that Priya Ramani damaged his reputation by levelling "false, wild and baseless allegations".

The United States-based journalist, also accused the former Union Minister MJ Akbar of sexual harassment. She claimed that she was assaulted at a Jaipur hotel over 23 years ago, followed by instances of "sexual, verbal and emotional" defilement. MJ Akbar had insisted that theirs was a consensual affair, to which she replied that a relationship "based on coercion and abuse of power" cannot be couched in such terms.

(Inputs from news agency PTI)