HC dismisses Pachauri’s bail cancellation plea

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed by a former woman research analyst who has accused environmentalist R.K. Pachauri of sexual harassment to cancel the bail granted to him.

Justice S.P. Garg, dismissing the plea of 29-year-old analyst, said that the trial court’s March 21, 2015 order granting anticipatory bail to Pachauri was “based upon fair appraisal of the material and all the relevant aspect of the matter have been considered minutely”.

“Petitioner’s counsel has failed to impress as far as what purpose custodial interrogation of Pachauri is required. While granting anticipatory bail to Pachauri, safeguarding the petitioner’s interest and that of the investigating agency, stringent conditions have already been imposed upon the accused,” said the court.

Delhi Police recently charge sheeted Pachauri under various sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, sexual harassment, stalking, criminal intimidation and word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

They have cited 23 prosecution witnesses and several SMS texts, e-mails and WhatsApp messages exchanged between the accused and victim as evidence to support thei r case.

Advocate Prashant Mediratta, appearing for the complainant, seeking cancellation of Pachauri’s anticipatory bail, had accused him of “influencing” the witnesses in the case. The complainant had also contended that Pachauri is an “influential man” who has been the top boss of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for last 34 years and was in active touch with its officials.

The lawyer had also told the court that a TERI employee, who has now resigned, had filed a police complaint on January 11, saying senior officials of TERI were pressurising him to have the matter settled by the woman with Pachauri. Delhi Police had said that it has been interrogating TERI officials after the woman’s colleague filed a complaint.

Pachauri, however, told the court that TERI officials did not talk to the man on his behalf, adding that he “never exercised any pressure upon TERI and its officials”.

On the complaint filed by woman’s colleague, the court said: “Its authenticity and genuineness is to be ascertained during the investigation/trial. At this stage, the complaint lodged by him can’t be considered to be an attempt by the accused (Pachauri) to scuttle the investigation or to interfere with the due course of administration or any abuse of the indulgence granted to him (Pachauri).”

After the woman employee filed a sexual harassment complaint, Pachauri denied the charge but stepped down as chairperson of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February last year and proceeded on leave from TERI where he was the director general.

Later, Pachauri was removed as TERI head in July and Ajay Mathur appointed in his place.

In November, the woman researcher who accused him of sexual harassment quit her job at TERI, alleging she was treated badly. TERI denied the charge.

On February 8, Pachauri was appointed as the executive vice chairman of the organisation despite the ongoing inquiry but after severe criticism, TERI on February 12 asked him to proceed on indefinite leave.

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