Former union minister M J Akbar appeared before a Delhi court on Saturday and reiterated that the allegations of sexual misconduct made by senior journalist Priya Ramani against him were ‘fabricated and false’. Akbar made the submission before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar through senior advocate Geeta Luthra during the final hearing in a criminal complaint filed by him against Ramani for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago.

Ramani had made the allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar in 2018 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum. Luthra also said that Ramani removing the tweet when the matter was sub-judice was (in) bad faith.

“You (Ramani) can’t make allegations on social media without any care and caution or responsibility after 20-30 years,” she said. She added that after first saying that Akbar didn’t do anything, you call him media’s biggest predator.

Luthra argued that Ramani had raised contradictory defence. “You didn’t feel the requirement of evidence of landline record, hotel, petrol receipt, CCTV. It (Ramani’s claim of Akbar’s sexual misconduct in a hotel) is complete hearsay, fabricated and false,” Luthra said. She said that Nilofer, Ramani’s friend and a key witness in the case, was not an eyewitness.

The court will further hear the matter on January 27. Akbar had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani on October 15, 2018. He resigned as union minister on October 17, 2018.

Akbar had earlier told the court that Ramani had defamed him by calling him with adjectives such as ‘media’s biggest predator’ that harmed his reputation. He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment he faced from the women who came forward during the #MeToo campaign.

Over 20 women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by Akbar while they were working as journalists under him. He termed the allegations false, fabricated and deeply distressing and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

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