Even as there is a growing clamour for the ouster of MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar, he has roped in 97 advocates from a top powerful law firm Karanjawala & Co to defend himself against sexual harassment allegations. MJ Akbar, earlier in the day, had filed a criminal defamation suit against journalist Priya Ramani.
Following the outrage over the battery of lawyers, Karanjawala & Co has defended the inclusion of 97 lawyers in its vakalatnama, terming it a ‘standard practice’ and clarifying that only 6 out of these 97 lawyers will be appearing in the case.
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has now targeted Modi government over the new development in the MJ Akbar case, saying, “#ModiGovt has provided 97 lawyers to MJ Akbar to fight a case against one woman. What a powerful and caring Govt it is !”
Meanwhile, journalist Priya Ramani has responded to the defamation case filed by MJ Akbar saying, “By instituting a case of criminal defamation against me, Mr Akbar has made his stand clear; rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment.”
Earlier in the day, MoS External Affairs filed a complaint for defamation under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 against journalist Priya Ramani. Furthermore, Akbar and his lawyers have mentioned that the posts of Ramani were ‘written with a sole ulterior motive of maligning the reputation and political standing’ of the MoS.
As many as 14 women have named MJ Akbar so far. It began with a post by journalist Priya Ramani, who called out MJ Akbar and accused him of inappropriate behaviour. After her post, several other women spoke out and accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment.