MJ Akbar’s defamation case against Priya Ramani adjourned till October 31

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India's delayed #MeToo allegations spilled out on social media after actress Tanushree Dutta revived a decade-old allegation against actor Nana Patekar in television interviews last month.

Sandeep Shastri, a political analyst at Jain University in the city of Bengaluru, said Akbar's defamation lawsuit and his subsequent resignation could indicate damage limitation by the government.

Akbar has served as editor of various newspapers and periodicals, including India Today, The Telegraph, and Deccan Chronicle.

Akbar has, however, denied all allegations and filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani Monday when he returned from an overseas trip.

M.J. Akbar, who became junior foreign minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government after a glittering journalistic career, maintained however that the barrage of allegations were false. The court will decide on summoning Ms Ramani after recording the evidence of Mr. Akbar and his other witnesses.

"The conduct of the accused person, of not taking any action before any authority, qua the alleged incident against the complainant also clearly belies the sanctity of the article and allegations made by the accused person, which evidently goes on to prove that the said defamatory articles are only a figment of her imagination", it said.

Announcing his resignation on Wednesday, Akbar said, "Since I have chose to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity".

Senior advocate also said that the journalist tweet which linked to an article that she wrote in Vogue magazine in 2017 about MJ Akbar without naming him, was defamatory. A Delhi court will on Thursday hear the defamation case filed by him. More than twenty current and former journalists have come out with their stories of harassment against Akbar when he was their editor. Akbar, Akbar tendered his resignation on Wednesday and said he would challenge the accusations against him in a personal capacity.

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Mr Akbar, once a prominent newspaper editor himself, has been accused of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment by almost 20 women.

Doval's meeting with MJ Akbar was part of a process to decide to put an end or at least apply the brakes to a narrative that was fast spinning out of control, said the people quoted above.

In his petition, Akbar said she "willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously" defamed him.

Ms Ramani has found support with 20 women signing a petition to testify on her behalf.

Akbar maintained a low profile after joining India's Ministry of External Affairs in July 2016 as its junior minister, representing India overseas at multinational conferences.

Ghazala Wahab who had accused Akbar of molesting her in his room in the office, said his quitting was the effect of the #MeToo movement.

"The #MeToo movement in India is a great moment in this country's history where the glass ceiling has been broken, where women are not blaming themselves for sexual harassment and keeping quiet about it but are instead calling out the perpetrators", renowned women's rights activist Brinda Adige told Anadolu Agency.

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