Journalist Priya Ramani, who has been facing a defamation case filed by MJ Akhbar, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in the Delhi court. She claimed trials after Delhi court framed defamation charge against her.
The journalist had received a bail by a Delhi court in February in the criminal defamation case filed by the BJP politician and former editor.
As per the reports, the court has now fixed May 4 as the date for recording of evidence. The court also granted permanent exemption to Ramani from personal appearance.
Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. He has denied the accusations. His name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India last year. Akbar, who resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on October 17, was in Nigeria when his name came up.
MJ Akbar’s legal team had told the court that Priya Ramani damaged his reputation by levelling “false, wild and baseless allegations”.
Among those who accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment is a United States-based journalist who claims that she was assaulted at a Jaipur hotel over 23 years ago, followed by instances of “sexual, verbal and emotional” defilement. When the former Union Minister insisted that theirs was a consensual affair, she said that a relationship “based on coercion and abuse of power” cannot be couched in such terms.