Court takes cognisance of MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case

Indian minister MJ Akbar resigns amid sexual assault allegations

Akbar on Monday had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani alleging she "wilfully" and "maliciously" made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing.

The former junior minister said in a statement that he would challenge the accusations leveled against him in a law court. But since then, women groups and political parties have demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi act against him. "I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court", Ramani said Wednesday.

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

Earlier after returning from Nigeria, MJ Akbar termed the accusations false and baseless.

He had also asked why a storm had risen a few months before the general election and wondered whether there was an agenda.

"Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against the complainant".

He is one of the most prominent among many men accused in recent weeks of sexual harassment or abuse, including bestselling authors, senior journalists, comedians and actors.

Mobashar Jawed Akbar, minister of state for external affairs, faced allegations of harassment and assault from female journalists who had worked for him in his previous career as a newspaper editor.

"It is a great thing that this case has gone to the court and the Indian legal system too must keep with it and change its procedures and processes and not go about in a very slow and cumbersome manner in which cases take years and years without producing any results".

Sources said there were discussions in the government over the unrelenting accusations against Akbar. "If not for any other reason, these women need the support of society at large because they have mustered the courage to speak up". The Congress has been emanded his resignation and removal. "I can say that M.J. Akbar's resignation can be seen as the victory for those women against whom sexual harassment was done".

They include Majlie de Puy Kamp, a journalist with CNN in NY, who claimed Akbar kissed her when she was an 18-year-old intern at his newspaper Asian Age in 2007.

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"Ramani is not alone in her fight. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a Tweet: "Never named him because he didn't 'do" anything.'", Akbar said.

Akbar's resignation is a significant development in the country's burgeoning #MeToo story, but it is unclear whether it will have ramifications for other politicians accused of sexual misconduct.

Akbar was born on January 11, 1951 and appointed junior minister for external affairs on July 5, 2016.

"When he issued the statement, it seemed it was government versus Priya Ramani". Journalist Priya Ramani had alleged that Akbar during his tenure as an Editor of a newspaper made her feel uncomfortable and harassed her in a hotel room.

She said the longer he fights this battle against Ramani, more women will come out while noting that the fight against sexual harassment will continue. Channels like Republic TV and Times Now were quick to claim that Akbar had not resigned but been sacked by Modi, who was reportedly upset with the severity of the allegations against him.

Sangh functionaries whom CNBC-TV18 approached said there could be no two ways about the case and there can be no compromise with women's safety and respect.

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"Eventually the truth prevails", Ghazala Wahab, another journalist who accused Akbar of making physical advances in office, told CNN NEWS 18.

National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma welcomed Akbar's resignation.

In its editorial Thursday, The Times of India reminds the state government of its responsibility to ensure the implementation of the order, writing, "Sabarimala for all: SC allowed women to enter, now Kerala government must uphold law and order". "NCW welcomes the move".

M. J. Akbar flanked by Amb Syed Akbaruddin and Ambassador Tanmay Lal at an event at the Permanent Mission of India in NY City.

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