Court examines 2 witnesses in Akbar's defamation suit

New Delhi


A Delhi court on Wednesday examined two more witnesses in connection with the defamation complaint filed by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani after she levelled sexual harassment charges against him.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal after examining Akbar's witnesses, Tapan Chaki and Sunil Gujral, posted the matter for hearing on August 2.

During the cross-examination, Gujral said, "In my capacity as a neighbour, friend and colleague, I had never heard anything negative about him. I found him a hardworking man, keeping long working hours and travelling for political stories."

On the allegations, Gujral said, "It tarnished Akbar's image in my eyes and in the eyes of others. A lot of people who are our friends, acquaintances and business associates started contacting me to understand and to know what was happening as it came as a surprise to most."

Deposing before the court, Chaki said, "It's incorrect to suggest that I am tutored witness." 

While Chaki was Akbara's neighbour and also the publisher of the Asian Age, edited by Akbar, Gujral was publisher and printer of the Sunday Guardian and former colleague of Akbar.

On Monday, the court examined Akbar's former colleague and friend Veenu Sandal, who told the court, "I was shocked and it came as a huge jolt to me especially when Ramani called Akbar a predator and the other revelation she had made. I was deeply depressed."

"When I spoke to him he said there was no truth in the allegations made by Ramani. He also told me I had known him for so many years so I could think for myself whether he was alleged to have done," Sandal said.

AAkbar, a journalist-turned-politician, has cited seven witnesses to prove his charges against Ramani, who was the first in a long list of female journalists to accuse him of sexual harassment. IANS