Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Nation -

NEWDELHI:A Delhi court on Fri­day recorded the state­ment of two wit­nesses — Su­nil Gu­jral and Veenu San­dal — in a crim­i­nal defama­tion case filed by former Union min­is­ter MJ Ak­bar against jour­nal­ist Priya Ra­mani who had made al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault against Ak­bar.

The two wit­nesses and former col­leagues of Ak­bar, who recorded their state­ments be­fore ad­di­tional chief metropoli­tan mag­is­trate in­formed the court that they were shocked when they came to know about the al­le­ga­tions against Ak­bar.

Gu­jral, pub­lisher of The Sun­day Guardian, said: “I spoke to Ak­bar there­after as I felt em­bar­rassed and let down. Be­sides this, my em­bar­rass­ment was com­pounded as friends and ac­quain­tances, who knew of all my old as­so­ci­a­tion with Ak­bar for al­most 40 years, started ask­ing em­bar­rass­ing ques­tions. This made me feel very bad since I felt that ir­repara­ble dam­age has been done to Ak­bar’s rep­u­ta­tion in my es­ti­ma­tion as well as in es­ti­ma­tion of my friend cir­cle and ac­quain­tances.”

San­dal, who had worked with Ak­bar at The Asian Age, said: “It was really dis­tress­ing that the al­le­ga­tions had been made and that he could do the things that Ra­mani had al­leged... It was very shock­ing and painful to think that some­one you had placed on a pedestal could al­legedly fall so low.”

The mat­ter would be now heard on Jan­uary 11.

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