Former TERI chief R K Pachauri recorded his statement before a city court, alleging that defamatory statements made by lawyer and human rights activist Vrinda Grover and others have caused him “enormous harm” as his “best friends and supporters have moved away” from him, and his sources of revenue have “dried up”.
Pachauri, accused of sexually harassing a colleague at TERI, recorded his statement in front of a court-appointed local commissioner, Santosh Mishra. He had filed a Rs 1 crore civil defamation suit against Grover and others for allegedly making defamatory statements against him outside the court to the media. He had sought damages for “false and frivolous allegations”.
Pachauri told the court that he had established a certain standing and reputation in society, which resulted in widespread acclaim and a large number of honours from various parts of the world, including the Nobel Peace prize on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, which he chaired for 13 years.
“The defendants, through their malevolent actions, have damaged my reputation and caused me pecuniary harm. Prior to the action on the part of the defendants, I used to receive at least two-three invitations to address gatherings and prestigious organisations all over the world provided large revenue inflows… After this action by the defendants, revenue has dried up and caused me enormous harm. I do not have any steady source of income and this was my only means to support myself,” Pachauri told the local commissioner. He added that due to this, his “best friends and supporters have moved away” from him.
However, the commissioner did not allow Pachauri to submit a paper as proof of his source of revenue, citing a CrPC rule. Pachauri was asked to seek “permission” from the court before submitting it. The counsel for the defendants objected to most of the statements, stating that it is “beyond pleadings” and hence inadmissible in court. The matter was adjourned for Saturday.
Pachauri has made Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd, NDTV and India Today, as well as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, parties to this suit and has sought a permanent injunction against any reporting on the statement made by two women who came forward after the original complaint against him.