New Delhi (NM Bureau): A day after returning from his official tour from Africa, junior minister M J Akbar filed a defamation suit in the court against allegation of sexual harassment levelled on him as part of the raging #metoo campaign in India against male bosses.
Hours after return, minister of state for External Affairs, Akbar had termed allegations against him by women journalists as "false, fabricated and deeply distressing.” He followed up his denial by legal suit today. Akbar was a celebrated Editor in India before he joined politics to become a member of the Upper House of Parliament Rajya Sabha and subsequently a minister.
Akbar Monday filed a private criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani who recently sparked the charges of sexual misconduct against him as an editor. Several women journalist came forward after Ramani with their similar experience against Akbar.
In his criminal defamation suit, the Minister of State for External Affairs of India has accused Ramani of "wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously" defaming him and has sought her prosecution under the penal provision in India on defamation.
“The complainant (Akbar) also had a long career in journalism, he launched India's first weekly political news magazine,” the complaint reads quoting against the allegations made by Ramani on social media.
The other women journalists who accused Akbar of sexual harassment, included Priya Ramani, Ghazala Wahab, Shuma Raha, Anju Bharti and Shutapa Paul. Couple of foreign interns who worked with Akbar as their editor have also took to social media to register their complaint.
Whilst it is apparent that the accused has resorted to a series of maliciously serious allegations which she is diabolically and viciously spreading in media, it is also apparent that false narrative against the complainant (Akbar) is being circulated in a motivated manner for the fulfilment of an agenda, the complaint further said.
Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code provides that an accused may be awarded two years jail term or fine or both if convicted.
Indian journalist have come out in support of Priya Ramani.
In the wake of the #metoo campaign in India in which several media, sports, film and other women personalities have come forward to narrate their stories of sexual harassment, the ministry of Women and Child development of the government of India and the Delhi Commission for Women have set up separate committees to look into the complaints.