Defamation case: Kangana appears before Mumbai court, says she has lost faith in it; files complaint against Javed Akhtar

PTI, Sep 20, 2021, 3:00 PM IST

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut appeared before a Mumbai court on Monday in connection with a criminal defamation complaint filed against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar, and said she had “lost faith” in the magistrate’s court as it indirectly “threatened” her of issuing a warrant if she failed to appear before it in a bailable offense.

Ranaut also moved a counter-complaint in the court against Akhtar for alleged “extortion and criminal intimidation”, and her lawyer informed the court that they had filed an application before chief metropolitan magistrate, seeking transfer of hearing into the complaint to another court.

The actor in her complaint said following her public dispute with a co-star, Akhtar had called her and her sister Rangoli Chandel to his house with “malafide intentions and ulterior motives and then criminally intimidated and threatened” her.

As per the complaint, Akhtar had forced Ranaut to tender a written apology to her co-star.

She further alleged that Akhtar had threatened her with dire consequences and told her that she would be making her own life miserable by indulging in such a public fight with her co-star, who comes from a powerful background and family.

“The words that were used by the accused (Akhtar) were ”if you do not say sorry to Hrithik Roshan, you will have to commit suicide because they will put you in jail. They have found all clues and evidence and they know that the case is completely in their hands”,” the complaint said.

Earlier, Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate R R Khan last week said he will issue a warrant against Ranaut, if she fails to appear on the next date of hearing on September 20 in connection with Akhtar”s complaint against her.

Ranaut appeared before the court on Monday for the first time since summons was issued to her in February this year, and completed the bail formalities.

As the matter came up for hearing, her lawyer Rizwan Siddiquee told that court that Ranaut does not want to proceed with this court (in connection with the complaint).

Siddiquee said they have “lost faith in the court as it seems to be biased”.

The court has indirectly “threatened” her of issuing a warrant on two occasions in a non-cognisable, compoundable and bailable offence, under which as per law regular presence is not required, the lawyer claimed.

Ranaut has been called before the court without any cause or reason, he said.

He further submitted that till today, there is no order as to why she is required to be present regularly for the bailable, non-cognisable and compoundable offence.

Akhtar”s lawyer Jay Bharadwaj termed Ranaut”s plea for transfer of complaint to another court as “extremely bizzare”.

“They have neither given any notice nor a copy of the (transfer) application to us,” he said.

Ranaut in her complaint sought for action to be initiated against Akhtar under Indian Penal Code Sections 383 (extortion), 384 (punishment for extortion), 387 (putting person in fear of death or of grievous hurt), 503 (criminal intimidation), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (words, gestures or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).

The actor said Akhtar had no connection with her dispute or personal relationship with the said co-star, but still made “unwarranted and uncalled for statements” against her.

Ranaut”s application seeking transfer of the complaint to another court is likely to be taken up for hearing by the chief metropolitan magistrate on October 1.

The Andheri metropolitan magistrate posted Akhtar’s plea for hearing on November 15.

Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court dismissed a plea filed by Ranaut seeking quashing of proceedings initiated against her by the local court on the criminal defamation complaint filed by Akhtar.

Justice Revati Mohite-Dere had said in the order that there was no procedural illegality or irregularity in the metropolitan magistrate’s order initiating the proceedings.

Akhtar (76) had filed the complaint in the court in November last year, claiming Ranaut had made defamatory statements against him in a television interview, which allegedly damaged his reputation.

In his complaint, Akhtar claimed that Ranaut dragged his name during an interview while referring to a ”coterie” existing in Bollywood, following the alleged suicide committed by actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June last year.

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