Delhi court to record Akbar`s statement on Oct 31

Delhi court to record Akbar`s statement on Oct 31

Even 20 women had also released a signed statement in which they have asked the court to hear them against Akbar.

"When he issued the statement, it seemed it was government versus Priya Ramani".

Akbar, a former influential newspaper editor, left office after initially refusing to step down amid the wave of accusations in recent days.

Reacting to Akbar's resignation, Priya Ramani said, "As women we feel vindicated".

Journalist Harinder Baweja, who too had accused Akbar, wondered if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would now "break their silence".

Ms Ramani wrote an article titled "To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world" a year ago for Vogue India in which she recounted her experience working with an editor who had interviewed her for the job in a hotel room and asked her to sit on the bed.

"The conduct of the accused person, of not taking any action before any authority, qua the alleged incident against the complainant also clearly belies the sanctity of the article and allegations made by the accused person, which evidently goes on to prove that the said defamatory articles are only a figment of her imagination", it said. "I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court", Ramani said Wednesday.

Calling for dropping of the case against Ramani, the Guild said: "We hope that Mr Akbar will also display the grace to withdraw the criminal defamation case he has filed against one of the complainants".

The matter is now listed for hearing on October 31 at 12 pm. "More so for Mr Akbar, who happens to be a former president of the Guild".

A day earlier, Akbar had described multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him as "wild and baseless" on his return from an official foreign tour.

Allegations against Akbar snowballed last week after journalist Priya Ramani accused him of sexual harassment when the pair worked together in the 1990s.

His lawsuit argues that Ramani had "willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously" defamed him "on wholly and completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds". But 20 other women have since offered to testify against him.

"Ramani is not alone in her fight".

Akbar resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Akbar questioned why the women who had accused him did not report the incidents previously. In clear and explicit terms, these women have detailed the behaviour of the present Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri M.J. Akbar, over a period of nearly three decades from about the mid-1980s to the end of the first decade of this century, when he was in a position of power and responsibility in some of the major news organisations of this country.

Let's not also forget the fact that by the time someone makes a complaint of sexual harassment, usually they have already gone through enormous trauma that has escalated to the point of putting up their hand and saying: "I can't take this any more".

Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Dilip Pandey said, "Mere resignation by Akbar is not sufficient considering gravity of allegations against him".

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