April,23,2015: “Let the summit (the Global Water Summit in Greece) go on in his absence,” the court said.
TERI Director General R.K. Pachauri, facing allegations of sexually harassing a woman employee, was on Thursday denied permission to travel abroad for next week’s Global Water Summit in Greece by Delhi High Court after which he withdrew his plea.
Justice S.P. Garg disagreed with the request of Mr. Pachauri, that he should be allowed to attend the summit, saying his presence is not mandatory. “The trial court has already imposed certain conditions on the petitioner (Pachauri) that he should not go abroad till the pendency of trial,” the court said, adding that his presence is neither required nor it is mandatory.
“Let the summit go on in his absence,” the court said. It also said that someone else can attend the summit on his behalf. It said that the court is not inclined to grant relief “so the petitioner should withdraw his petition or else the same will be dismissed.”
Sensing the mood of the court, senior advocates Dayan Krishnan and Ramesh Gupta, agreed to withdraw the application seeking permission to attend the summit on April 27-28 at Athens in Greece.
The court refused to grant the relief after the police informed it that the investigation is at the initial stage and the accused would escape the probe after going abroad. Additional Standing Counsel Sanjeev Bhandari, appearing for Delhi Police, said that the investigating agency is also in the process of filing a plea seeking cancellation of his bail.
Mr. Bhandari further submitted that Mr. Pachauri has not given all the details of his passport and he has multiple visas, so he might switch to another country after attending the summit. The counsel said that Mr. Pachauri has even sent an email to the complainant through someone else threatening her, which was also a violation of trial court’s bail order.
Opposing police contention, advocate Mr. Gupta said Mr. Pachauri is a renowned person, and has deep roots in society and his family members, including his son and daughter, who are residing in Delhi.
He further said, if the court allows his client to go for the conference, his daughter can visit the nearest police station daily on his behalf. Mr. Pachauri’s counsel stated that the police have not called him once to join the probe since lodging of the FIR.
“I(Pachauri) have even written a letter to the police to join me in investigation, even then I was not called once. The evidence in the case is in electronic form which is in police custody so my physical presence is not necessary,” his counsel said.
During the hearing, the court asked Mr. Pachauri’s counsel whether the accused has informed about the FIR lodged against him to organisers of the summit who have invited him. To this, Mr. Pachauri’s counsel said, the invitation for the conference was sent much prior to lodging of the case and he is the prime guest at the summit.
Mr. Pachauri had proceeded on leave from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) after sexual harassment charges were levelled against him by a woman employee. He had also stepped down from United Nation’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.
Mr. Pachauri had moved the High Court, on Wednesday, seeking permission to travel abroad after a sessions court had refused to hear his plea asking him to approach the concerned magisterial court for relief. The High Court had asked the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case to file status report on Thursday.
On March 21, Mr. Pachauri was granted anticipatory bail by the sessions court which had rejected the request of police for his custody. The court had granted him anticipatory bail by imposing several conditions on him including that he will join the probe as and when called, he will not enter TERI office premises and not intimidate or threaten the complainant and the witnesses of the case.
On February 13, an FIR was registered against Mr. Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation).Hindu