MJ Akbar,File Photo.

Former Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar is a thorough gentleman and a brilliant teacher, claimed a woman journalist in Delhi’s Patiala House Court during the hearing of a defamation case filed by Akbar against a journalist who has accused him of sexual harassment.

The claim has been made by Joyeeta Basu, the editor of The Sunday Guardian.

“I have always held him in high regard. He has been professional in his dealings with me. He has always been a tough taskmaster, thorough professional and a brilliant teacher,” said Basu while recording a statement in a defamation case.

Basu also said that the former editor had been vilified intentionally and the tweets by fellow journalist Priya Ramani were published to harm Akbar’s good reputation.

Akbar, 67, who resigned from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Union Council of Ministers in October after multiple women came out with accounts of alleged sexual harassment, has filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani amid the raging #MeToo campaign in India.

Earlier, Akbar told a Delhi court that an “immediate damage” has been caused to him due to the ‘scurrilous’, concocted and false allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him.

A fortnight ago, Akbar rejected rape allegations leveled by a US-based editor of a leading media house and claimed they were in a consensual relationship.

The latest allegation of rape was levelled against him by Pallavi Gogoi, the chief business editor of National Public Radio (NPR), a Washington-based American media organization.

She had detailed the ‘most painful memories’ of her life in an article in The Washington Post.’

However, denying the allegations levelled by the journalist, Akbar said that somewhere around 1994, Ms. Pallavi Gogoi and he entered into consensual relationship that spanned several months.

“The relationship gave rise to talk and would later cause strife in my home life as well. This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on the best note,” Akbar said in a statement to ANI.

However, Pallavi Gogoi refuted Akbar’s claim and said that a relationship based on ‘coercion and abuse of power’ is not consensual.

She said that she would continue to speak her truth so that other women, who have been sexually assaulted by him, know it is okay for them to come forward and speak their truth too.


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