New Delhi: TERI Director General R K Pachauri, accused of sexual harassment by a woman employee, was today allowed by a Delhi court to enter his office premises except the head office here and a branch in Gurgaon.
Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Tripathi allowed the plea to modify the earlier order restricting his entry into the offices of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
The court had on March 21, granted Pachauri anticipatory bail while imposing the conditions that he will join the probe as and when called and not enter the TERI office premises.
The police had yesterday sought cancellation of the anticipatory bail to Pachauri, saying he was influencing witnesses and misusing the liberty of bail, a charge denied him.
During the hearing, the investigating officer (IO) opposed Pachauri's plea saying he has been examined four times but there was no cooperation from him in the investigation.
He said that if Pachauri is allowed to enter the office, he can influence witnesses.
“Several witnesses, mostly the employees of TERI office at Lodhi Road, are to be examined. Some witnesses of TERI office at Defence Colony are also to be examined. So if the accused is allowed to enter office, there is possibility that he may try to influence them,” IO said.
Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Pachauri, informed the court that Delhi High Court had yesterday adjourned the plea of the complainant challenging the anticipatory bail granted to him till September 30.
He said while adjourning the matter, the high court had observed that it was not concerned with what was going on in the trial court proceedings.
The counsel submitted that Pachauri has joined the probe four times but still the IO says he has not cooperated with the probe.
“I have every right to keep silent. Everything was videographed and one can see how I have cooperated with the investigation,” he said.
The senior advocate alleged that the IO's statement that Pachauri was not cooperating with the investigation and influencing the witnesses, was under pressure from complainant.
The court asked the IO about the status of the alleged victim and where she was currently posted and whether she has joined the office or not.
To this, the IO said that she was transferred to the Gurgaon office.
Pachauri's counsel said he can work from TERI University at Vasant Kunj and he will comply with all conditions imposed by the court.
He said all the documentary and technical evidences are with the police and only FSL report is awaited and it has been over four months that Pachauri has not been allowed to enter office.
“He can't sit at home, he has to work at least from any one office of TERI,” the counsel said.
The court told IO that the accused has a right to livelihood which cannot be suspended for an indefinite period. Prashant Mendiratta, appearing for the complainant, contended that the court had barred Pachauri from entering the TERI office, where the alleged incident took place, so that the police could investigate freely.
He said that all TERI offices were connected with each other and if a person of the stature of Pachauri, who heads TERI, is allowed to enter the premises, there was every possibility that witnesses could be influenced.
“Right to work is a fundamental right, but is Pachauri, being on leave from TERI, not getting any salary? Has he left the post of DG? Why can't he work from home,” Mendiratta said.
He requested the court to adjourn the case till October saying the high court is seized of the matter on a larger issue of grant of anticipatory bail to the accused.
On May 21, the court had fixed the matter for today, noting that investigation in the case was progressing at a “snail's pace” and asked the police to complete it by today.
The judge, while asking the IO to conclude the probe, had said if no substantive progress in respect of probe was made by the IO, the court would be constrained to modify the condition of barring the accused from entering TERI office.
Pachauri had sought modification of the earlier order barring him from entering TERI premises till the probe is over, saying that the major part of probe was over and the complainant has recorded her statements, while his electronic gadgets like laptop, cell phones were already with the police.
Pachauri was earlier granted anticipatory bail by the court which had rejected the request of police for his custody in the case.
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.