Former chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) and a suspect in a sexual harassment case, RK Pachauri, can travel abroad for more than a month to attend conferences and meetings, a Delhi court ruled on Monday.
Metropolitan magistrate Shivani Chauhan granted the environmentalist permission to travel to Mexico and the United States from July 12 to August 14.
The court also granted regular bail to Pachauri, who was on anticipatory bail granted by a local court on March 21, 2015.
The court took note of the fact that Pachauri was granted permission to travel abroad on earlier occasions and had complied with the conditions set by the court.
“In these circumstances, the accused (Pachauri) is permitted to travel as per his itinerary from July 12 to August 14,” the court said.
Earlier, the same court had taken cognisance of a chargesheet filed against Pachauri for allegedly molesting and outraging the modesty of a former female colleague.
If convicted, the 75-year-old scientist could face jail term of up to seven years.
An FIR was registered on February 13 last year in connection with the complaint. The investigation in the case is complete and chargesheet was filed earlier this year. Pachauri was never arrested during the investigation in the case.
“This goes to show that his custody is not required for the purpose of the investigation. No fruitful purpose will be served by sending the accused person to jail,” the court said.
During the pendency of the trial, Pachauri was allowed at least 10 times to travel to various countries, including the US, UK, China, Japan, France, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Kuwait, Somalia and Saudi Arabia.
Delhi Police had filed an over 1,400-page charge sheet in the court against Pachauri under sections 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B(assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 354-D (stalking), 509(word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 341 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC.
In its charge sheet, Delhi police said Pachauri made sexually coloured remarks upon the complainant on several occasions. It also said Pachauri touched the complainant inappropriately despite clear disinterest and opposition.
The charge sheet also said that the environmentalist sent inappropriate SMSes and WhatsApp messages and e-mails to the complainant. Delhi Police has submitted printouts of the materials along with the charge sheet.
The police have cited around 23 prosecution witnesses, many of whom are present and former employees of Teri.