Amid claims that a battery of 97 lawyers will be fighting union minister MJ Akbar’s legal battle against journalist Priya Ramani who has accused him of sexual harassment, the Karanjawala & Co, the firm that will represent Akbar has said that only six out of the 97 lawyers will appear in the case. Akbar, a former newspaper editor, has been accused by more than a dozen women journalists of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Dismissing reports that it has deployed 97 lawyers to defend Akbar, a spokesperson from the firm told News18.com: “Our firm has 100 lawyers. We usually have all the names printed in one vakalatnama with only the ones who will appear in the case signing it. Our criminal team has six members and only those six will appear in this case. Only they have signed the vakalatnama.”
Akbar has filed a criminal defamation case in Delhi’s Patiala House Court against journalist Priya Ramani. The court has listed the matter to October 18. The minister has refused to step down from the post and said the accusations were politically motivated and fabricated as it has been made ahead of elections next year.
“Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections. Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action,” MJ Akbar had said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the internal complaints committee (ICC) of the ministry of external affairs (MEA) may not be able to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against junior minister MJ Akbar because these relate to events that took place elsewhere, said a member of the panel, Economic Times reported.
MJ Akbar has previously held various senior positions in multiple news media organisations, including The Telegraph, Asian Age and India Today.