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MJ Akbar sues journalist over #MeToo allegations; accuses her of causing ‘great humiliation’

A statement from Akbar's lawyers confirmed that the complaint has been filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code.

New Delhi: Following his rejection to #Metoo allegations, MJ Akbar has filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani – the first woman who named the BJP minister in the ongoing movement.

Earlier on Sunday, Akbar, in an official statement, had said that his lawyers were exploring legal action on the allegations, which prompted calls for his resignation from the government.

A statement from Akbar’s lawyers confirmed that the complaint has been filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code.

In his defamation suit, Akbar has accused her of “willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously defaming” him on “completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds” and harming his goodwill and reputation.

The minister said the journalist had caused “great humiliation” to him.

The former editor of newspapers like The Telegraph and the Asian Age, was named by Priya Ramani in a tweet on October 8. She said MJ Akbar was the man she had referred to in an incident she had shared in a magazine article a year ago, when the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US fuelled an avalanche of #MeToo allegations.

After Ramani named him, more women posted their stories against MJ Akbar – Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta, Kanika Gahlout, Kadambari M Wade, Majlie de Puy Kamp and Ruth David.

Outrage over the allegations have been limited to journalists and activists. Political parties have largely kept silent on Akbar.

The Congress said he should “explain or quit” but its top leader, Rahul Gandhi, avoided taking his name while expressing his support for the #MeToo movement.

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