TERI director-general R K Pachauri, who is being probed for allegations of sexual harassment against him, on Thursday failed to get a court order on his plea seeking permission to enter his office. The local court, however, took note of the “snail’s pace” at which the probe is going and asked the police to complete it by July 17.
Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Tripathi deferred passing of any order on Pachauri’s application in which he had wanted permission to go back to his office. Pachauri had earlier moved the Delhi sessions court seeking modification of its March 21 order, which had granted him protection from arrest on the condition that he would not enter the office of The Energy and Resources Institute till the investigation is complete.
“Considering the nature of allegations levelled against the accused and totality of the facts and circumstances of this case, this court postpones passing of any order on the application of accused till next date of hearing (July 17),” Tripathi observed.
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On the completion of investigation the court observed, “The IO (investigating officer) may conclude the investigation by the next date of hearing and examine the material witnesses of prosecution.”
It further said if no “substantive progress” in respect of investigation in the case is made by the IO, the court shall be “constrained” to modify its earlier order. This could possibly allow Pachauri access to his office.
During the proceedings, the Delhi police opposed Pachauri’s plea on the grounds that all TERI offices being interconnected, Pachauri should not be allowed to enter the premises as the investigation is still underway, adding that TERI’s IT Wing where the central server is located, is not cooperating with the investigation.
However, the police made the submission during the proceedings that from March 21, no further probe has been conducted vis-a-vis visiting the TERI premises.
Pachauri’s counsel Ramesh Gupta, arguing a modification of the session’s court order, said that for over two months, police have not questioned Pachauri, despite his voluntary request. He added that police have not completed the probe although two months were sufficient to probe the case against his client.
Advocate Prashant Mehndiratta, counsel for the complainant woman, also opposed Pachauri’s plea stating that the HC was seized of the matter and has granted four weeks’ time to the accused and the police to file their reply on an application seeking cancellation of his anticipatory bail.
After hearing the submissions the court observed, “Right of livelihood is a fundamental right of every citizen of this country… the accused cannot be restrained for an indefinite period from visiting the TERI premises for the purpose of earning his livelihood.”
In the present plea, Pachauri has sought modification of the court’s order on the grounds that the complainant is not posted at TERI premises and therefore there shall be no occasion of him “contacting or attempting to influence or threaten” the woman.