New Delhi: The Delhi Rouse Avenue court on Saturday recorded statements of former Union minister MJ Akbar in the defamation case filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani after she accused him of sexual misconduct. The cross-examination will continue on May 20.

Many journalists such as Barkha Dutt, Faye D’Souza, Nidhi Razdan, Javed Mansari, Suparna Sharma along with Ramani were present during the depositions. Akbar was represented by senior advocate Geeta Luthra and Ramani was represented by senior advocate Rebecca John.

Ramani had been granted exemption from personal appearance on the last date of hearing on April 10. Ramani, who appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of defamation and claimed trial.

Journalist-turned-politician Akbar had filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani, the first woman journalist to publicly accuse him of harassment after issuing a statement denying charges of sexual assault and harassment levelled against him. More than 10 women, apart from Mint Lounge columnist Ramani had recounted instances of alleged sexual misconduct by Akbar. The criminal defamation case was filed in the Patiala House court in New Delhi last year seeking relief under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

In February, Ramani was granted bail on a personal bond of 10,000. Ramani was the first woman to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment during the #MeToo campaign.

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