NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today stayed the order forfeiting the surety of Rs 4 lakh furnished by TERI Executive Vice Chairman R K Pachauri, facing sexual harassment allegations by an ex-woman colleague, for overstaying abroad in violation of travel conditions imposed on him.
The sessions court stayed till March 2 the order of a metropolitan magistrate, after Pachauri's counsel filed a revision petition before it alleging it was perverse to say that his client had deliberately violated the condition.
"Issue notice of the revision petition to respondent (State) with PF (process fee) returnable for March 2, 2016. Trial Court Record be requisitioned for next date of hearing. Meanwhile, the order dated February 19 passed by metropolitan magistrate shall remain stayed till the next date of hearing," Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Tripathi said.
The magisterial court had on February 19 forfeited the surety deposited by Pachauri observing that he "unilaterally and deliberately" violated the travel conditions by overstaying in Sharjah by one day, where he had gone to receive a lifetime achievement award.
The court had said that Pachauri "deliberately and unilaterally extended the liberty granted to him. Thus, it is a clear case of violation of terms and conditions, subject to which, the accused was permitted to travel abroad vide order dated February 15."
It had said Pachauri failed to return to India as per schedule from Sharjah, and there was nothing on record to show that schedule of the event was changed at last minute. The revision plea, filed through advocate Ashish Dixit, claimed the order of the magistrate was "contrary to both law and facts of the present case".
It said Pachauri had approached the magistrate on February 18 seeking modification of the date of arrival as February 19 and "therefore it is perverse to say that petitioner deliberately violated the condition."
The plea also said when Pachauri was granted permission to travel to Sharjah from February 16-18, the magistrate had recorded the statement of the Investigating Officer that the investigation is complete and charge sheet is under scrutiny. It claimed that since the investigation is over, Pachauri is not required to seek court's permission to travel abroad, as per the March 21, 2015 order of the sessions court.
"Magistrate erred in implementing the order dated March 21, 2015 passed by this court in as much as when the IO of the case informed the magistrate that the investigation is almost complete and charge sheet is submitted for scrutiny with the prosecution department, the magistrate ought to have held that as the investigation is complete, the petitioner is not required to seek permission because the March 21, 2015 order mandated that petitioner shall take permission to travel abroad till the investigation was not over," the plea said.
The magisterial court had on February 15 allowed Pachauri to go to Sharjah from February 16 to 18 where he was to be conferred the award. However on February 18, Pachauri moved an application submitting that due to a change in the schedule of the award ceremony, he had to extend his trip by one day and would be arriving on February 19 instead.
The court, while refusing to consider his submission, had said Pachauri had not sought permission to extend the trip in view of an order of a sessions court binding him to seek nod of the court each time he went abroad. Since the FIR against him was registered on February 13 last year, Pachauri has been allowed at least nine times to travel abroad, including to the USA, UK, China, Japan, France, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Kuwait, Somalia and Saudi Arabia.
The FIR was registered on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation).