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Kangana Ranaut Issued Bailable Warrant in Javed Akhtar Defamation Case

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(Left) Kangana Ranaut (Right) Javed Akhtar, Urdu poet, in PuKaSa Meeting at Kollam (Photo Source: Fotokannan at Malayalam Wikipedia)

Kangana Ranaut, the Hindi actor who has several cases filed against her for her controversial tweets and remarks on other celebrities, was issued a bailable warrant on Monday by a Mumbai Court in the Javed Akhtar defamation case.

The Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Andheri issued the warrant to the actor after she failed to appear before the court despite being summoned without any “justified reason”.

Akhtar, the veteran poet, lyricist and screenwriter filed a complaint against Ranaut  in November 2020 under Sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code alleging that Ranaut. had made defamatory remarks in an interview with Republic TV after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide on June 14, 2020 in Mumbai that sparked several controversies regarding mental health issues and nepotism in the Hindi film industry along with a massive drug probe being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Ranaut had been vocal about such issues and in one of the interviews with Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami aired on the channel on July 19, 2020 that lasted for 57 minutes. Ranaut had said that some of the senior members of the Hindi film industry, including Akhtar, were a part of a “gang” that was against the “outsiders” in the industry.

In the plea filed by Akhtar, he mentioned that Kangana dragged his name to “immaculate reputation by falsely attributing statements to him” while speaking about Rajput’s demise “without appearing to have any direct personal knowledge of the circumstances around his death”.

The plea also mentioned that that actor was “needlessly dragging the complainant’s name into an unconnected, sensitive matter is tantamount to extending veiled threats to the complainant, who is an extremely respectable member of the film fraternity.”

“The complainant is one of the most senior artistes in the film industry with his successful career spanning over a period of more than 55 years, which in itself is a rare achievement. Apart from this, he was also nominated as a member of Rajya Sabha during the period March 2010 to March 2016,” the plea stated, while mentioning that he was a self-made man who came to Mumbai with merely Rs 27. 

Citing three witnesses, Akhtar also claimed that Ranaut had intended to “malign his dignity” in front of right-thinking members of society, film fraternity, friends and acquaintances.

Akhtar’s lawyer also cited one of Ranaut’s tweet that proved that she did not appear in the court despite being aware of the summon.

“You are at liberty to challenge the order (issue of process and summons) but that cannot absolve you from appearance here,” the court said while passing the order on Ranaut’s “willful absence”.

The warrant is returnable on March 26. 

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