While being cross-examined in a case of alleged defamation at Patiala House Courts, former TERI chief R K Pachauri was Tuesday asked by the counsel of the defendants — Vrinda Grover and others — to leave the courtroom for some time. As soon as Pachauri left, the defence alerted the court-appointed local commissioner that a document submitted as an ‘exhibit’ by the ex-TERI chief had his lawyer Ashish Dixit’s email ID on top of the sheet, and that it appeared to have been printed by the lawyer instead of by Pachauri. When Pachauri was called back to the courtroom, he was asked whether he had access to Dixit’s email ID. “Yes,” he answered.
This led to an argument, with the defence objecting to alleged “prompting by the counsel (Dixit) of the plaintiff (Pachauri) through actions to answer the questions”. However, in a report, the local commissioner observed that there was “no prompting” in the courtroom. The defamation suit has been filed by Pachauri, accused of sexually harassing a colleague at TERI, against social activist Grover and others. The exhibit in question is the statement of a ‘foreign woman’, which Grover allegedly emailed to some people. Meanwhile, before cross examination began, Pachauri said that as a result of the alleged defamation, he had been “deprived” of a source of income, which would have been Rs 20 lakh per month. “Myself and my family suffered terrible anguish and pain, the value of which cannot be estimated in monetary terms,” he added. He has sought damages from Grover and others for “false and frivolous allegations” levelled against him in the media.
Pachauri has also made Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd, NDTV and India Today, as well as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, parties to this suit.