A Delhi court on Friday allowed R K Pachauri, chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) who has been accused of sexual harassment by a colleague, to enter all offices of the institute except its headquarters in the capital and its Gurgaon branch.
The order comes less than four months after the court had issued an order restraining Pachauri from entering any TERI office till the completion of investigation in the case.
Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Tripathi, modifying the court’s earlier order on March 21, allowed Pachauri to enter all TERI offices except its office in Delhi and Gurgaon, where the complainant now works.
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“The order dated March 21 is modified to the extent that the accused shall not enter the head office and Gurgaon office of TERI till the investigation is over in the case. However, he is at liberty to visit and work from the rest of the TERI offices,” the court said.
During the proceedings, Pachauri’s counsel and senior advocate Ramesh Gupta argued that his client has joined the investigation four times and that he would continue to cooperate with police.
“Most of the prosecution witnesses have been questioned by police. Because of the condition imposed by the court, my client is not able to work from any of the TERI offices. Police alleges that my client has not cooperated with the investigation. However, he has every right to keep silent. Everything was videographed and one can see how he has cooperated with the investigation,” Gupta argued on behalf of his client.
Opposing Pachauri’s plea, the additional public prosecutor argued that a few witnesses from the head office of TERI and from its Defence Colony office are yet to be examined and therefore the TERI chief should not be allowed to enter these offices.
Meanwhile, advocate Prashant Mendiratta, who appeared for the woman, argued that all TERI offices are interconnected and there is every chance of tampering of evidence if Pachauri is allowed to visit any of them.
Mendiratta also argued that the application seeking cancellation of Pachauri’s bail, moved by the complainant, is pending before the Delhi High Court. Therefore, he said, his plea about visiting the TERI office should be adjourned till the application in the HC is disposed of.
Rebutting his argument, Pachauri’s counsel said that while adjourning the matter, the High Court had observed that it was not concerned with the trial court proceedings.