Pachauri allegedly 'exercising influence' on TERI officials to settle sexual harassment case: Delhi HC told

The court asked Pachauri to explain his stand on allegations that he had instructed one of the complainant's colleagues to persuade her for an out-of-court settlement.
Pachauri allegedly 'exercising influence' on TERI officials to settle sexual harassment case: Delhi HC told
Pachauri allegedly 'exercising influence' on TERI officials to settle sexual harassment case: Delhi HC told
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the response of police on a plea alleging that TERI Chief R K Pachauri was "exercising influence" on other officials of the organisation to settle the sexual harassment case lodged against him by a former woman colleague.

Justice S P Garg also asked Pachauri, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), to explain his stand on a fresh application moved by the complainant alleging that he had even instructed one of her colleagues to persuade her for an out-of-court settlement.

"File a response to it (application)," the court said and fixed the matter for further hearing on February 11.

The 29-year-old female research analyst, who has now quit the organisation, moved the application a day before the court is to pronounce its verdict on her plea seeking cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to Pachauri by a lower court on March 21 last year.

Taking note of her fresh application, the court has now deferred pronouncement of the order.

Advocate Ashish Dixit, appearing for Pachauri, opposed the fresh application saying it is not maintainable as it has been filed by the counsel of the woman who is out of the country at present.

The complainant, through her counsel Prashant Mendiratta submitted, "Pachauri has been exercising pressure upon TERI and its officials to not provide free access to Delhi Police to internal server of TERI's official email address." 

"It has been brought on record by the petitioner that officials of TERI have not cooperated with the police and had made statements to police which were dictated by R K Pachauri.

"Now, this one employee (woman's colleague) of TERI who gave the complaint to police on January 12 has come forward and informed police that its senior officials are pressurising him to have the matter settled by the complainant with R K Pachauri," the counsel submitted.

The counsel further said this fact was an additional ground for cancellation of anticipatory bail of Pachauri.

The high court had on January 13 reserved its verdict on the woman's plea seeking cancellation of Pachauri's anticipatory bail in the case. 

In her plea, the complainant also sought a status report of the police complaint filed by her colleague.

"Despite the Investigating Officer and the SHO concerned being fully aware of contents of complaint by this research associate (woman's colleague) of TERI, they did not bother to inform the high court about this extremely important fact having a bearing on the petition seeking cancellation of Pachauri's anticipatory bail," the application said.

The Delhi Police had earlier opposed Pachauri's bail claiming he was influencing witnesses and misusing the bail conditions.

Pachauri's counsel had denied the police's claim and stated there was "nothing on record to suggest that he had influenced witnesses or any other person related to the present case or interfered in the investigation".

The complainant had alleged in court that Pachauri had "dictated what needs to be said to the witnesses" in the case and claimed there was "overwhelming evidence" to show that he had misused the bail conditions.

Referring to a March 21, 2015 order, she had submitted that the lower court had "miserably failed" to appreciate the evidence gathered by the police to demonstrate that Pachauri, in violation of court orders, was in active touch with TERI officials and influencing witnesses.

On February 13 last year, an FIR was registered against Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

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