New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to environmentalist R.K. Pachauri.
The trial court’s March 21, 2015, order, granting anticipatory bail to Pachauri, was “based upon fair appraisal of the material and all the relevant aspect of the matter have been considered minutely”, Justice S.P. Garg said while dismissing the plea of 29-year-old woman, a former research analyst at TERI, who has accused Pachauri of sexual harassment.
“The petitioner’s counsel has failed to impress as far as for what purpose the custodial interrogation of Pachauri is required. While granting anticipatory bail to Pachauri, safeguarding the petitioner’s interest and that of the investigating agency, stringent conditions have already been imposed upon the accused,” the high court said.
Delhi Police have formally charged Pachauri under the Indian Penal Code for assault or use of criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty, sexual harassment, stalking, criminal intimidation and word, gesture or act intended to insult her modesty.
Police have cited 23 prosecution witnesses and several SMSes, emails and WhatsApp messages allegedly exchanged between the accused and the woman as evidence in support of their case.
Advocate Prashant Mediratta, appearing for the complainant, had sought Pachauri’s anticipatory bail be cancelled, and accused him of “influencing” the witnesses.
The complainant contended that Pachauri is an “influential man”, who has been at the helm of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for the last 34 years and was in active touch with its officials.
Her lawyer also told the court that one TERI employee, who has since resigned, had filed a police complaint on January 11, 2016, that senior TERI officials were pressurising him to get the matter settled between the woman complainant and Pachauri.
Delhi Police said they have been interrogating the TERI officials after the woman’s colleague filed a complaint.
Pachauri, however, told the court that he “never exercised any pressure upon TERI and its officials”.
On the complaint filed by the woman’s colleague, the court said: “Its authenticity and genuineness is to be ascertained during the investigation/trial. At this stage, the complaint lodged by him can’t be considered to be an attempt by the accused (Pachauri) to scuttle the investigation or to interfere with the due course of administration or any abuse of the indulgence granted to him (Pachauri).”
After the woman employee filed the sexual harassment complaint, Pachauri denied the allegation but stepped down as chairperson of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February last year and proceeded on leave from TERI where he was the director general.
Later, Pachauri was removed as TERI head in July and Ajay Mathur was appointed in his place.
In November, the woman researcher who accused him of sexual harassment quit her job at TERI, alleging she was treated badly. TERI denied the charge.
On February 8, Pachauri was appointed as the executive vice chairman of the organisation despite the ongoing inquiry in the sexual harassment case. After severe criticism, TERI on February 12 asked him to proceed on indefinite leave.