NEW DELHI—Journalist Priya Ramani said the absolute truth was her defence, after Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar filed a defamation case against her for naming him has her harasser in a #MeToo tweet last week.
Ramani’s tweet prompted several women to allege that Akbar had sexually harassed them as well.
“I am deeply disappointed that a union minister should dismiss the detailed allegations of several women as a political conspiracy,” Ramani said. “By instituting a case of criminal defamation against me, Mr Akbar has made it clear, rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment.”
My statement pic.twitter.com/1W7M2lDqPN
— Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 15, 2018
Akbar filed a defamation case against Ramani on Monday at Delhi’s Patiala House Court.
Akbar said that the “scandalous allegations leveled” by Ramani were “ex facie defamatory and have not only damaged his goodwill and reputation …in his social circles and on the political stage, established after years of toil and hard work.” The defamation plea said it also ruined Akbar’s “personal reputation of in the community, friends, family and colleagues, thereby causing him irreparable loss and tremendous distress.”
On Sunday, Akbar had described the accusations against him as politically motivated.
In 2017, Ramini had written an article in Vogue titled To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, where she recounted her first experience of workplace harassment. Ramani hadn’t named anyone in her account, but last week, she said on Twitter that she was referring to Akbar as the editor who interviewed her in his hotel room. She said in a tweet:
I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story. Never named him because he didn’t “do” anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator—maybe they’ll share. #ultihttps://t.co/5jVU5WHHo7
— Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 8, 2018