File photo of former IPCC chairman RK Pachauri
Rajendra K Pachauri, one of the world's top climate change officials, was today granted relief by a Delhi court, which protected him from arrest till Mach 27. But the court has also banned him from his Delhi-based think tank The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) and said he cannot leave the country without permission.
75-year-old Dr Pachauri has been accused of sexual harassment by a 29-year-old researcher with TERI. The trial court today said he cannot directly or indirectly contact members of the organization.
Prosecution lawyers had opposed his bail saying the allegations against him are serious and he has not been available for detailed interrogation.
Senior counsel Siddharth Luthra, who is defending Dr Pachauri, insisted that he has been cooperating with the investigations. Mr Luthra also said Dr Pachauri's health was precarious and he had a serious heart condition, so he should not be arrested.
The woman complainant claims the scientist began harassing her soon after she joined the non-profit think-tank in September 2013. She has submitted hundreds of text and WhatsApp messages that she say prove how she was sexually harassed.
Dr Pachauri has denied the charges and alleges that he is a victim of computer and phone hacking. The researcher has formally recorded her statement before the magistrate. The woman, who is still an employee of TERI, is on a two months leave. Dr Pachauri, was admitted to a Delhi hospital yesterday after he complained of cardiac problems.
The police have seized the memory card of one of the phones confiscated from Dr Pachauri.
On Tuesday Dr Pachauri quit as chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) days after the FIR or police complaint was filed. In 2007, Dr Pachauri received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, which shared the honour with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for their part in galvanising international action against climate change.