#MeToo effect: Minister of "External affairs" MJ Akbar resigned

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Akbar is the most high profile person to quit in recent weeks amid a snowballing #MeToo social media campaign that has seen allegations of sexual harassment against men in workplaces, primarily in the media and entertainment industries.

On Wednesday, Akbar's lawyer Sandeep Kapur of law firm Karanjawala and Co said the legal battle would commence from Thursday and the veteran journalist-turned-politician would press for the prosecution of scribe Priya Ramani against whom he filed the defamation complaint when he was the minister.

On Monday, 15 October, Akbar filed a criminal defamation suit against Ramani before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Patiala House Court. "Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything", the lawyer added.

Akbar, who stepped down from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers yesterday, has trashed the allegations against him, saying "accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections".

"When Ms. Ramani spoke out against him in public, she spoke not only about her personal experience but also lifted the lid on the culture of casual misogyny, entitlement and sexual predation that Mr. Akbar engendered and presided over at The Asian Age", their statement read. "I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo", Ramani tweeted. He said since he made a decision to move the court to "seek justice" in "personal capacity", he chose to step down to challenge "false accusations" also in "personal capacity".

We hope that Mr Akbar will also display the grace to withdraw the criminal defamation case he has filed against one of these complainants.

The court slated the matter for hearing on October 31.

OPEC slashes growth forecast for global oil demand
The global benchmark has retreated after hitting a four-year high of $US86.74 on October 3. Brent crude futures were down $1.32, or 1.6 percent, at $81.77 a barrel by 0543 GMT.

It is learnt that what also made the government jittery was the fact that despite the legal case against Priya Ramani, another woman journalist Tushita Patil penned an article alleging sexual abuse against Akbar dating back to 1992-1993 when she was a rookie reporter and he a prominent journalist and editor.

Akbar, earlier this week, sued Ramani, stating that her alleged "defamatory articles" on him were a "figment of imagination" and "only" meant to "malign" his reputation. The resignation came three days after Akbar had refused to step down from his position and had issued a statement denying all allegations.

Former Mint Lounge Editor Priya Ramani, who wrote about a predatory "celebrity editor" without naming anyone in a piece a year ago, last week publicly identified Akbar as the central character of her article. On October 8, she reposted the article naming Akbar.

In her reaction to his resgination, Ramani said she was "vindicated".

But today but he resigned to ministry and gave a statement. She did not however name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. Channels like Republic TV and Times Now were quick to claim that Akbar had not resigned but been sacked by Modi, who was reportedly upset with the severity of the allegations against him.

Akbar was "an expert on obscene phone calls, texts, inappropriate compliments and not taking no for an answer", Ramani had said.

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