Casual talks for settlement in Pachauri case: Cops tell HC

Casual talks for settlement in Pachauri case: Cops tell HC
An out-of-court settlement was proposed to the victim of the alleged sexual harrassment case involving TERI's newly-appointed executive vice chairman R K Pachauri, investigators told Delhi High Court today.

The Delhi Police, which was asked to file a status report on the progress of its investigation, said that TERI Director Sanjai Joshi conceded during interrogation that he has indeed talked to victim's friend Rahul Singh for an out-of-court settlement.

The status report was filed in the matter in which the victim, a former TERI employee, has sought quashing of anticipatory bail of Pachauri in the case.

The High Court today reserved its order on her plea in the sexual harrassment case. The status report also said that TERI's area convener Reena Singh was also interrogated in her office and she had stated that she had never spoken about any settlement with Rahul Singh and was only giving her comments.

Both Joshi and Reena Singh maintained that their talks with Rahul Singh was casual, the report said. In the report, it was clarified that Joshi was categorical that Pachauri never pressurised him to talk about out-of-court settlement.

"Director TERI Sanjai Joshi joined investigation and he was interrogated. He stated that he talked with Rahul Singh, it was a very casual conversations during his visit to his workstation in TERI. It was stated only to save the image of organisation before the media," the police said in its report filed before the bench of Justice S P Garg.

The report further said that Joshi had also stated that he has never been asked by Pachauri or any other person of TERI to talk for settling the matter and he had not pressurised Rahul Singh, who is the complainant's friend.

Police also told the court that another TERI official was out of country on an official tour and he will be examined after he returns to India. Rahul Singh had filed a complaint with the police on January 12 alleging that senior directors and area convenor of TERI had approached him to get the victim settle the matter out of court.

"Pachauri's continuing presence at the top is completely antithetical to our convictions as alumni and graduates of TERI University. We would like to make it explicitly clear that we are not in a position to accept our degrees from him at the upcoming convocation on March 7, 2016.
"We reiterate, that the trajectory that the university is taking is dangerous and grossly inconsiderate and as alumni, we sincerely hope that the TERI University Board of Management may seriously re-evaluate Pachauri's continuing role as Chancellor of the university," the alumni wrote in their letter.

They said that it is only the "basic and essential" good practice that he (Pachauri) may immediately recuse himself from the post of chancellor and cease involvement in TERI University  matters pending completion of legal proceedings.

Trouble mounted for Pachauri, already in the thick of a legal battle over sexual harassment allegations, when another woman, a former employee of TERI, yesterday came out in public making similar accusations while demands were made for putting on hold his fresh appointment as its Executive Vice Chairman.

The woman, to whom he had allegedly made sexual advances more than 10 years ago, also slammed TERI for appointing Pachauri to the higher position.

Yesterday, a group of former TERI employees and its University Alumni had also condemned the fresh appointment of Pachauri, saying it was a "slap" on the face of those fighting against gender discrimination and demanded deferment of his elevation till the case was decided by the court. The group had condemned the elevation under the banner of 'A few concerned ex-TERI employees and members of TERI University Alumni network'.

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