Tue, 09 Mar 2021

New Delhi [India], January 22 (ANI): Former Union Minister MJ Akbar on Thursday questioned journalist Priya Ramani for allegedly destroying evidence in the defamation case against her by deleting her Twitter account.

Akbar's counsel and senior Advocate Geeta Luthra told the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey that the harm that Ramani has caused by her statement is "indefensible".

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra said that the tweets were all primary evidence and asked if Ramani could destroy evidence.

"....another criminal case can be made out," Luthra pointed out. "Fact is that everything has been deliberately destroyed to subserve the cause of justice," she said.

She also raised questions on Ramani's response on the issue that she did not save the Twitter account because the court didn't tell her to save so and said that "how can one take a defence like this.""Have you filed any complaint for destruction of evidence," the court asked. Advocate Luthra responded: "We haven't but we want the court to take cognizance. I have brought it to the notice of the court.""These lies have left me defending my reputation in the last few years. It is unpardonable," advocate Luthra said, while advancing the final argument in the matter.

She further added: "You (Ramani) have damaged a person's 50 years of reputation."As the argument remained inconclusive, the court adjourned the matter for January 23 for further hearing. Advocate Luthra also told the court that she would conclude her argument on the next date fixed for hearing.

Luthra also cited Ramani's cross-examination and informed the court that Ramani was aware of Vishakha guidelines in 1996-97 but she does nothing because there isn't anything and her statement was a "work of fiction".

Senior Advocate also pointed out that there was a mechanism since 1860 relating to sexual offences against women and if there been an iota of truth, she would have spoken up at the first available opportunity or after in a movement called 'Found their Voice' in 2013, which took place after Nirbhaya incident.

Akbar, the former Minister of State for External Affairs, had filed a defamation case against the journalist Priya Ramani for accusing him of sexual misconduct.

Ramani accused Akbar of sexual harassment during the MeToo campaign. After the allegations were levelled, Akbar resigned from the Union Cabinet on 17 October 2018. (ANI)

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