Pachauri sent on long leave

Pachauri sent on long leave

Tainted environmentalist R K Pachauri, holding three key positions in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) on Friday was asked to go on a leave presumably till the sexual harassment case against him is concluded.

TERI governing council chairman and retired scientist B V Sreekantan, who appointed Pachauri as the executive vice chairman of the institute despite pending court case, has resigned as the outrage over Pachauri’s elevation spread far and wide. Women activists protested before the TERI office on Friday as well.

Sreekantan would be replaced by Ashok Chawla, former finance secretary and Competition Commission chief. Soon after his appointment was announced, Chawla said external ombudsman would be appointed to go into complaints of sexual harassment in future.

“Pachauri, who has been the head of the institute since 1982, will be on leave from TERI, TERI Governing Council, and TERI University till this is reviewed by the Governing Council given the sub judice nature of the matter,” the institute said in a statement. The council, however, has not removed him from the vice chairman’s post.

The former chief of the UN Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change has been charged with two separate allegations of sexual harassment. While one case is being heard by the Delhi High Court, the second victim has come out in the open as the Delhi Police did not appear to act on her complaint lodged in February 2015. The Delhi Police claimed Pachauri tried out-of-court settlement with the victim of the first case, but Pachauri’s lawyer denied the allegation.

The governing council went ahead in elevating Pachauri to the post of vice chairman with executive power notwithstanding the court case.  It triggered angry reaction from the society including TERI University students, who refused to accept their degrees from his hands.

After student protests, Pachauri went on leave from the TERI University on Thursday. A day later he proceeded on leave from the organisation and its governing council.

TERI said it looks forward to leadership of 65-year-old Chawla and inducted the new director general Ajay Mathur as a member of the council. Mathur will operate with full executive powers, a move that will strip Pachauri of any executive powers he may have enjoyed when he was appointed executive vice chairman.

Though Mathur, who was heading the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, was appointed director general with full executive powers on July 23, 2015, he joined only on February 8, 2016 after he was relieved by the government.
DH News Service

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