This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
New Delhi police say the former IPCC chairman is violating his bail conditions by hampering their investigation and influencing witnesses.
For 13 years, Rajendra Pachauri was the man in charge of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the United Nations body responsible for assessing the state of the world’s climate.
You would expect someone entrusted with this important responsibility to be conscientious and professional. Most of all, you would expect him to be a stickler about following the rules.
But Pachauri is the public figure who never fails to disappoint. Currently facing a criminal investigation over alleged sexual misconduct at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) that he has led since the 1980s, New Delhi police are now accusing Pachauri of bail violations.
The crimes for which he is being investigated are so serious that, once a person is taken into police custody, bail is not an option. Last month, Pachauri’s aggressive legal team secured what is known as “anticipatory” or “interim” bail on his behalf – a measure that temporarily prevents his arrest.
One of his bail conditions is that he not have contact with anyone at TERI. Another requires him to cooperate with the police.
But police recently told a judge that Pachauri has been “influencing witnesses” and “hampering investigations.” According to the Economic Times, police say Pachauri is
“creating documents” for his defence and [is] still in touch with Teri officials who “at the behest of Pachauri are not co-operating” with the police.
Indrani Basu, editor of HuffingtonPost India, reports that, after hearing 90 minutes of arguments this morning, Additional Sessions judge Raj Kumar Tripathi declined to revoke Pachauri’s bail. Instead, Pachauri was once again urged to abide by his bail conditions.
A hot-off-the-press article in India’s Business Standard reports that a prosecutor told the court that, when police interviewed one of Pachauri’s assistants, they discovered the assistant had visited Pachauri earlier and conferred with him about what to say. According to the prosecutor,
IT experts are not being allowed to enter TERI offices and even if allowed inside, no cooperation is extended to them and they are deliberately being made to wait.
When TERI officials turned over Pachauri’s two laptops at the police station recently, they attempted to video record interactions between themselves and the Station House Officer. The Business Standard, quoting the prosecutor, reports:
When the photographer was questioned, he said TERI officials have asked him to video record the conversations to help Pachauri in the case
Accused by a 29-year-old TERI employee of sexual assault, harassment, and stalking, Pachauri has denied all allegations against him. He says he is the victim of a conspiracy involving “unknown cyber criminals” who are trying to harm him due to his climate activities.
told the court that his email had not been hacked, but that he had shared the password with several people, who could have sent inappropriate emails to the complainant on his behalf.
Last month, an Australian newspaper reported that, when Pachauri handed over his mobile phone to the police, “memory cards were missing.” That detail is also mentioned toward the end of this video news clip, produced today:
Years ago, a criminal lawyer I interviewed emphasized one point in particular: If you are innocent of a crime, he said, you have to act like you are innocent.
This is a straightforward concept, but apparently it’s just another one of those rules that R.K. Pachauri thinks doesn’t apply to him.
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.