This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
An Indian court has ruled against Rajendra Pachauri and in favour of press freedom. The IPCC chairman sought to prevent the media from reporting on a police investigation concerning allegations of sexual misconduct. Now UPDATED at bottom.
An Indian court has ruled in favour of press freedom and against Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
According to the Indian Express newspaper:
Justice Jayant Nath vacated a stay on the publication of news reports on the allegations against Pachauri. The court said that the “liberty of the press under Article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution could not be violated, allowing the media to report on the case.”
Following a complaint by a 29-year-old female subordinate at Pachauri’s TERI institute, police have been investigating the 74-year-old under four sections of the Indian Penal Code. These concern sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and criminal intimidation/threats. If convicted, Pachauri could face maximum prison sentences of two, three, or seven years.
Citing unnamed police sources, the newspaper says Pachauri allegedly made further attempts to contact the woman following her police complaint – and that a team of officers has visited TERI’s office and questioned some staff members.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Mirror is reporting that Pachauri has secured “anticipatory bail” by a court, which also “granted him protection from arrest till February 23.” The complainant’s lawyer alleges that that hearing was irregular:
“Usually, the investigating officer has to be informed before anticipatory bail is granted. We did not get any notice, and neither was the investigating officer present in court,” [Prashant] Mehndiratta said.
Accused by the woman of persistent groping and forcible kissing, Pachauri vigorously denies the allegations. He says the 31-pages of apparently sexually charged electronic messages she turned over to police are the work of “unknown cyber criminals” who hacked his phone and computer.
UPDATED Feb 20: Legally India, an information source aimed at lawyers and law firms, has published a scan of a legal document connected to this week’s temporary publication ban in the Pachauri case. Written by
his lawyers a judge who’d heard only from Pachauri’s laywers, the document alleges that Pachauri “is being targeted by various vested interests.” Permitting the media to report on this case, it says,
would be to give success to the conspiracy which is aimed to destroy the reputation standing goodwill and repute of the plaintiff.
The identity of these alleged vested interests is not revealed and no evidence appears to have been presented to support this bizarre claim.
Remember back in 2010 when, writing in a Yale University publication, Pachauri untruthfully and cavalierly dismissed IPCC critics as “conspiracy theorists”? Look who’s talking about conspiracies now.
UPDATE: the text appearing in this colour font above was inserted 9 May 2015
Donna Laframboise is a Canadian investigative journalist and author of the 2013 book, Into the Dustbin: Rajendra Pachauri, the Climate Report & the Nobel Peace Prize. See Amazon.com, Amazon India, and other Amazon stores.