The Delhi Police on Thursday filed a status report in the sexual harassment case filed by a 29-year-old research scholar against then The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) director general Dr. R.K. Pachauri after the victim alleged that the accused was trying to influence the witnesses.
Prashant Mehendiratta, the victim’s lawyer, said that he had requested the Delhi High Court to cancel the anticipatory bail of Dr. Pachauri on four basic grounds.
“The first one being that he has been influencing the witnesses. We were able to show by concrete evidence that Mr. Pachauri had called one of the witnesses to the hospital while the anticipatory bail was pending before the sessions court and told him what exactly to go and tell the police, what documents to submit to the police,” he told ANI.
“The second issue was he interfered with the investigation when he turned around. In fact, TERI sent photographers to the police station and record through photographs as to what exactly is being told by the officials of TERI to the Delhi Police,” he added.
The victim’s lawyer further said the third issue was that the Delhi Police has been saying that Teri has not provided the access to the internal servers till date and added that, “those servers which contain crucial evidence of sexual harassment in the form of e-mails. That access the TERI officials have not provided till date.”
“The fourth important argument, which has emerged now during the pendency of this anticipatory bail application, is that one person who was the colleague of our client was approached by the directors of TERI and they asked him to ask the complainant, my client, to settle the matter with Dr. Pachauri,” he said.
The Delhi Police was asked to submit a status report with regard to the points raised by the victim. According to the status report, the police had interrogated two senior TERI officers – Sanjai Joshi and Reena Singh, who had spoken to the complainant’s colleague to settle the matter.
Joshi, who is the Senior Director at TERI, told the police that he talked with the victim’s colleague in a ‘very casual conversation’ during his visit to the work station. He further said that ‘it was stated only to save image of organisation before the media’.
Joshi further said that he had never been asked by Dr. Pachauri to talk for the settlement of the matter and added that he had not pressurised anyone.
Singh was also interrogated in her office, where she stated that she never talked about any settlement with the colleague who was giving his own opinion and she was only listening and reacting to his comments. She also added that the comments were made casually.
Reacting to the status report filed, the victim’s lawyer said, “He says, he did it to save the image of TERI from the media. That’s the sad part. How can you allow that? Tomorrow, in every criminal case, the main accused will not go and ask for settlement. He will send a subordinate to a friend of the complainant, asking him to settle the matter. If that is not direct interference in the investigation, exercising pressure on the complainant then what is?”
On the other hand, Pachauri’s lawyer Ashish Dixit looked happy as he said, “They (Delhi Police) have clearly stated in the honourable High Court that there is no allegation on Dr. Pachauri and that there is no evidence to support that Dr. Pachauri has influenced anyone or has asked any of his colleagues to get the matter settled.”
Dixit said that the Delhi Police was asked to file a status report on the last date, and added that they have investigated into these allegations.
“After recording these submissions of the prosecutor and of the complainant, the High Court has reserved the order to be pronounced on some given date,” he said.
In a recent development in the case, the victim wrote an open letter on Monday reacting to the news that the organisation elevated the alleged perpetrator to the position of vice chairman.
“Shamelessness abounds!” she wrote, in response to the news about Pachauri’s promotion on Monday to executive vice chairman of TERI and his inclusion in the organisation’s governing council. “The news of promotion of a man who stands booked on charges of sexual harassment at workplace, stalking and criminal intimidation by country’s who’s who makes my flesh crawl.”
She concluded stating that the case remains and she is determined to see it to its logical conclusion.