File photo of ex-TERI director RK Pachauri
World-known climate scientist Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who has been accused of obstructing a police investigation into a sexual harassment case against him, has been permitted today to return to work at the think-tank he founded, TERI.
Dr Pachauri, 74, has been on long-term leave from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), where the complainant still works. In February, he had been asked to stay away from the offices of TERI to ensure witnesses and the complainant were not intimidated or influenced.
A Delhi court today amended that direction, stating that the scientist, who was at the hearing, can visit all but two branches of TERI, including one where the complainant works. "Imposition of restrictions of accused from visiting all the premises of TERI would be too harsh," said the court.
The complainant's lawyer says she will challenge the permission next week.
Yesterday, the police told the Delhi High Court that Dr Pachauri had been evasive during interrogations and was trying to obstruct the investigation. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Prashant Mendiratta, lawyer for the complainant, told news agency AFP that the police had produced "overwhelming evidence" that Dr Pachauri was "dictating to witnesses what to state to the police".
Dr Pachauri, a leading voice on the dangers of global warming, was forced to step down as the chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this year after a female colleague at his Delhi think-tank said he harassed her.
She says he sent her inappropriate emails, text and WhatsApp messages. Dr Pachauri denies the allegations and says his emails and mobile phone were hacked.
He has not been charged and a lower court in March granted him "anticipatory bail", meaning that police cannot take him into custody or arrest him before a certain date.