File photo: MJ Akbar. Photograph:( DNA )
'Articles in international and national media quoted these defamatory tweets. Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything,' Akbar's lawyer Geeta Luthra said.
Former union minister MJ Akbar's lawyer said in court on Thursday that "irreparable damage" had been caused to his reputation. The court was hearing the criminal defamation case Akbar has filed against the journalist Priya Ramani.
As many as 16 women have accused Akbar of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct. Akbar however zeroed in on Ramani because he says she began "this campaign" against him.
"Irreparable damage caused to Akbar’s reputation which he has built over 40 years. Articles in international and national media quoted these defamatory tweets," Luthra said.
She then added that "tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything".
Ramani was the first person to describe Akbar's misconduct — without naming him. She wrote, in 2017, about how Akbar had interviewed her in a Mumbai hotel room when she had been 23 years old. Akbar had been 43 at the time.
The other allegations against Akbar came after India's own #MeToo movement kicked off with the actor Tanushree Dutta accusing Nana Patekar of sexual misconduct.
Criminal defamation case filed by #MJAkbar against journalist Priya Ramani: MJ Akbar's lawyer Geeta Luthra said before court, "Irreparable damage caused to Akbar’s reputation which he has built over 40 years."— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2018
"Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against the complainant. Her second tweet was clearly defamatory and liked by 1200 people," Luthra said in court on Thursday.
The court will hear the statements of Akbar and other witnesses in the case on October 31.
(With inputs from agencies)