TERI's executive Vice Chairman R K Pachauri, facing sexual harassment charges by a former woman colleague, has "deliberately" violated travel conditions imposed on him by overstaying abroad, a Delhi court has said while forfeiting his surety bond.
The court ordered that the surety bond of Rs four lakh, furnished by Pachauri as a condition for being allowed to travel abroad be forfeited and the amount deposited by Monday.
"In these circumstances, it is clear that accused has 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," Metropolitan Magistrate Shivani Chauhan said.
The court said Pachauri has failed to return to India as per schedule from Sharjah, where he had gone to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on February 16, and there was nothing on record to show that the schedule of the event was changed at the last minute. "The accused failed to return back to India on scheduled date and time and thus violated the condition imposed upon him by the court," it said.
"There is nothing on record to show that the scheduled award ceremony was indeed changed at the very last minute. There is no document or other material on record to support this contention of the accused," the court said, taking a stern view.
The court had on February 15 granted permission to 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, 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.
"It is hereby clarified that accused had not sought permission to extend the trip in view of the order dated March 21, 2015, passed by the Additional Sessions Judge," it said.
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).
"The organisation of any award ceremony entails a lot of planning and logistics. Participation of several guests and other dignitaries is also involved. Any rescheduling of such an event would entail extensive pre-planning and arrangements in advance," the court said in its order.
The court said it appeared that the accused had unilaterally sought to bypass the directions passed by the court of the ASJ without any justification and without seeking prior permission of the court.
"This court, as well as the accused, are bound by the directions passed by the ASJ," it said.
"In these circumstances, surety bonds furnished by the accused at the time of his travel stand forfeited. The surety is directed to deposit the forfeited amount of Rs 4 lakh on or before the next date," the court said, while asking Pachauri to comply with the directions by February 22.
Pachauri had obtained permission from the court to travel to Sharjah till February 18 and later attend a meeting with the Secretary General of Geneva-based World Meteorological Organisation from February 22 to 26.
The court had allowed him to travel as per his itinerary subject to furnishing of one local surety of Rs 4 lakh.
It had noted the submission of the Investigative Officer that the probe in the matter was complete and charge sheet is likely to be filed soon.