A Delhi court Saturday framed molestation charges against former TERI chief R K Pachauri in a case of alleged sexual harassment lodged by his former colleague. Metropolitan Magistrate Charu Gupta put Pachauri on trial for the offence punishable under sections 354 (outraging modesty), 354 A (making physical contact, unwelcome and sexually coloured remarks) and 509 (teasing and using vulgar gesture and actions) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The charges were framed after Pachauri, who was present in the courtroom, pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. Advocate Ashish Dixit, appearing for the accused, sought a speedy trial. “My (Pachauri) age is 78 years and me and my family are suffering from hardship. For almost last four years we are facing media trial,” the counsel said on behalf of Pachauri after which the court put up the matter for further proceedings on January 4, 2019. The court also summoned the complainant on the next date for recording of her statement.
On September 14, the court had discharged him from the section 354B (using criminal force against a woman), 354D (stalking) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC, saying that prima facie these sections were not made out against Pachauri. Reacting to the development, the complaint said today, “Spoken with my lawyers and understood all aspects especially with regards to challenging for inclusion of three charges (in which Pachauri has been discharged). Finally, trial is committed. Made complete arrangements to be available during the said time period…The truth will triumph.”
On February 13, 2015, an FIR was registered against Pachauri and he was granted anticipatory bail in the case on March 21, 2015. The former TERI chief had earlier secured an interim order from Additional District Judge making it mandatory for media houses to publish or telecast the coverage of the case with a title that “in any court, the allegations have not been proved and they may not be correct”. This order had also said “when such information is published in any page of a magazine or report, then it should be in middle of the page in bold letters and it should be five times larger than the font in which the article is being published.”
Over 1,400-page charge sheet was filed by the Delhi Police on March 1, 2016, saying there was “sufficient evidence” against Pachauri that he had sexually harassed, stalked and threatened the complainant. A supplementary charge sheet was filed in March 2017 after the police said it had retrieved several deleted e-mails and chats exchanged between the accused and the complainant. The final report had said the deleted WhatsApp chats, text messages, retrieved from the cell phones, computer hard disks and other devices, were “not fabricated”. The charge sheet. which was filed a year after the former research analyst of TERI lodged the complaint, had said Pachauri had committed offences under various sections of IPC. Pachauri has denied all the allegations against him.