NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today set aside an order forfeiting the surety of Rs 4 lakh furnished by TERI Executive Vice Chairman R K Pachauri, facing sexual harassment allegations by an ex-colleague, for overstaying abroad in violation of travel conditions imposed on him.
Additional Sessions Judge R K Tripathi while giving relief to Pachauri, who was yesterday listed in a charge sheet by Delhi Police in the sexual harassment case, said the former TERI chief "did not appear to be at fault" and had showed bona fide reasons for change in schedule of his trip. "The organisers of the programme had changed the date due to unavoidable circumstances in which revisionist was invited to receive the award. There appears no fault on the part of revisionist in flouting directions of Metropolitan Magistrate.
"The act of revisionist for extension of his travel by one day was neither willful nor deliberate, but due to the things which were beyond his control," the judge said. The court said, "The revisionist (Pachauri) had shown bona fide reasons for not returning on February 18, 2016. Prior intimation of his return was given to court of metropolitan Magistrate. The change of schedule of the Award Ceremony was beyond control of revisionist."
A magisterial court had on February 15 allowed Pachauri to travel to Sharjah to receive Lifetime Achievement Award on February 17 but he moved an application before it seeking extension of his trip by a day saying the ceremony was rescheduled for February 18. The magisterial court had then 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 sessions court, while allowing the revision petition of Pachauri against the magisterial corut order, relied on documents placed on record by Pachauri's counsel advocate Ashish Dixit showing his client was given the award a day after the scheduled date. "In the application moved on behalf of revisionist, metropolitan magistrate was intimated regarding change of date of arrival of revisionist.
"It was submitted that due to change in the schedule of award ceremony, the revisionist had to extend his trip by one day and therefore, there was change of one day of his return. Due to change in the schedule of award, Pachauri was to return on February 19, 2016 instead of February 18," the judge said. In the revision plea, Pachauri had claimed the order of the magistrate was "contrary to both law and facts of the present case". The sessions court had on February 22 stayed the order of the magisterial court forfeiting the surety, after Pachauri moved an application seeking the relief.
The Delhi Police had yesterday filed an over 1,400 page charge sheet in which he has been accused of sexually harassing and outraging modesty of a former woman colleague besides stalking and criminally intimidating her with gesture or act intended to insult her modesty. The charge sheet, which was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Shivani Chauhan has been fixed for consideration on April 23.
On February 13, last year, an FIR was registered against Pachauri and he was granted anticipatory bail in the case on March 21.