The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the response of TERI Director General R K Pachauri on a woman’s plea seeking cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to him by a lower court in a case of alleged sexual harassment.
Justice Sunita Gupta also issued notice to Delhi Police asking it to file a status report on an appeal by the 29-year-old female research analyst, who has alleged that “free and fair investigation” cannot be carried out if Pachauri was “allowed to roam around freely”.
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The court, which asked Pachauri to reply as to why the stay on his arrest should not be withdrawn, has now transferred the matter before another judge of the high court which had earlier heard the issue on two occasions.
The court has now posted the woman’s application for bail cancellation before the other bench on May 20. Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan accepted the notice on behalf of Pachauri.
The complainant’s counsel Prashant Mendiratta has alleged in the court that Pachauri was “dictating what needs to be said to the witnesses” in the case.
He further claimed there was “overwhelming evidence” against Pachauri that he misused the bail conditions. A criminal case on charges of sexual harassment, stalking and criminal intimidation was registered against Pachauri on February 18 by the police.
The woman’s plea states that Pachauri “is abusing his position and hijacking the entire electronic evidence as well as the material witnesses”.
She has claimed that “grave prejudice would be caused” to her if the anticipatory bail granted to Pachauri was not cancelled.
Referring to a March 21 order of a lower court, the complainant has submitted that it had “miserably failed” to appreciate the evidence gathered by the police to demonstrate that Pachauri, in violation of court orders, was in active touch with officials of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and influencing witnesses. The woman in her plea has also opposed Pachauri’s request before a trial court to modify its order that bars him from entering the TERI premises.
On March 21, Pachauri was granted anticipatory bail by the trial court which had rejected the request of Delhi Police for his custody in the case.
The court had granted him anticipatory bail by imposing several conditions including that he would join the probe as and when called, not enter TERI office premises and not intimidate or threaten the complainant and the witnesses of the case.
On February 13, an FIR was registered against Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Pachauri, who is facing charges of sexual harassment and is currently on leave from TERI, has requested a modification of an earlier court order and permission to resume work from the office premises.
“Pachauri now sought modification of order by which he was granted anticipatory bail. He is an influential man. He should not be allowed to enter TERI premises till the investigation is going on,” the woman’s counsel contended. After the sexual harassment complaint, Pachauri had even stepped down as chairperson of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February and proceeded on leave from TERI.