M.J. Akbar denies meeting journalist Priya Ramani at Oberoi hotel
M.J. Akbar says he did not meet Priya Ramani in 1993 at Oberoi Hotel for a job interview
Former Union Minister M.J. Akbar on Monday denied meeting journalist Priya Ramani for a job interview at The Oberoi hotel in Mumbai in December 1993 and asking her personal, rather than professional questions.
Akbar said: "Since there was no meeting, therefore it is wrong to suggest that I did not ask Priya Ramani about her writing skills, her knowledge of current affairs, or her ability to enter the world of journalism."
The court was hearing a defamation case filed by Akbar against Ramani.
"Further, since I did not meet her on that day, I do not know whether she felt unnerved by my behaviour," Akbar said during his cross-examination in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal.
The hearing, which lasted for three hours, saw a heated exchange of arguments between Akbar's counsel Geeta Luthra and Ramani's Counsel Rebecca John, as Luthra objected to many questions asked by John.
Advocate John questioned Akbar about the job interview, which took place when Akbar was 42 years old and Ramani, 23.
Akbar said: "It is wrong to suggest that the conversation between Ramani and me was more personal than professional at my insistence. It is also wrong to suggest that I asked her about her family and why she went abroad to study."
"It is further wrong to suggest that I asked her whether she was married. It is further wrong to suggest that she told me that this job was important to her as it was her first job," he added.
à¤ªà¤¤à¥à¤°à¤à¤¾à¤° #PriyaRamani à¤à¥ à¤à¤¿à¤²à¤¾à¤« à¤¦à¤¾à¤¯à¤° à¤®à¤¾à¤¨à¤¹à¤¾à¤¨à¤¿ à¤à¥ à¤®à¥à¤à¤¦à¤®à¥ à¤®à¥à¤ à¤ªà¥à¤°à¥à¤µ à¤à¥à¤à¤¦à¥à¤°à¥à¤¯ à¤®à¤à¤¤à¥à¤°à¥ #MJAkhbar à¤¸à¥ à¤à¤¿à¤°à¤¹ à¤®à¤ 20 à¤à¥ à¤à¤¾à¤°à¥ à¤°à¤¹à¥à¥¤— IANS Tweets (@ians_india) May 20, 2019
Photo: IANS pic.twitter.com/o6YTU0B6Mc
The former minister also denied offering alcoholic drinks to Ramani from the mini-bar in the room, and then singing old Hindi songs and asking whether she liked music.
He also denied that he was deposing falsely or was tutored to give such answers to the questions put by Ramani.
He said he was not sure whether Ramani was offered a job at the Delhi office of The Asian Age newspaper in January 1994 or that she was transferred to its Bombay office after 10 days.
However, Akbar agreed that he was aware that in 2017, numerous women, including actresses, models and others belonging to the entertainment industry in America made public allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer and co-founder of the Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein.
Ramani was the first in a long list of female journalists to accuse Akbar, a journalist-turned-politician, of sexual harassment while sharing a Vogue article on Weinstein sexual harassment.
"It is wrong to suggest that in Priya Ramani's tweet 'Never named him because he didn't do anything', the words were used in a sarcastic sense," said Akbar, adding that the tweets had made allegations against him, which are false.
As Akbar's examination remained incomplete, the court posted the case for further hearing on July 6.
With inputs from IANS
Top News Stories of the Day
- Mumbai crime: Gateman, kin thrash guard over parking of bike at station
- Mumbai crime: 65-yr-old held for visa fraud
- Mumbai crime: Sub-inspector put behind bars for raping, assaulting domestic help
- Vacation turns tragic as 3 from Mumbai drown
- BMC, traffic cops to crack down on roadside parking in flooding spots
- Mumbai crime: Cop arrests escaping drug addict in a 100-metre dash
- Teachers fear delay in new textbooks for std XI
- Man from Mumbra arrested with 14 stolen phones, fake currency notes
- Narendra Modi offers prayers at Kedarnath and Badrinath temple
Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and also a complete guide on Mumbai from food to things to do and events across the city here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Mumbai Rains: 6 ways to stay healthy and safe this monsoon