Nobel Laureate RK Pachauri makes ‘my flesh crawl’: Sexual harassment victim

Pachauri back in TERI.

By Sreekanth A Nair

Courtesy of Wikimedia
Courtesy of Wikimedia

Expressing deep concern over the appointment of Nobel Laureate RK Pachauri as the Executive Vice President of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the woman who accused him of sexual harassment released an open letter on Tuesday.

In the letter, she said that the decision made her flesh crawl.

“Shamelessness abounds! The news of promotion of a man who stands booked on charges of sexual harassment at workplace, stalking and criminal intimidation by country’s who’s who makes my flesh crawl,” the letter read.

The governing council of TREI decided to appoint Pachauri as the Executive Vice President of the institute with executive powers. He was the Director General of the Institute when he stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment.

The woman, a former colleague of Pachauri, said that she didn’t believe it when she had heard the decision of the governing council to bring back Pachauri to the institute, last year, in October. She also alleged that though the council didn’t have time to consider the complaint filed by her, it managed to convene two meetings within a month to consider Pachauri’s reappointment.

“The Governing Council of TERI met twice within a month to address insecurities of R K Pachauri and could not even hold a meeting over my complaint or my letter to them (dated 03 April 2015) nor could they meet to discuss the ICC report presented on 19 May 2015. They had the time and the will to convene two board meetings in a span of one month. This was very unheard of considering that TERI GC would only meet once every year per Rules and Regulations of TERI,” she said.

There are more allegations in the letter regarding the pressure imposed on her to go for an out of court settlement. She ends the letter saying that she would take it to its logical conclusion.

“I deserved better. I use this platform to further convey that the case stands as it is, I assure I will take it to its logical conclusion,” she wrote.

The alleged victim was a researcher at TERI, who alleged that the harassment began shortly after she joined the non-profit think tank in September of 2013.

The woman has given police access to hundreds of text and WhatsApp messages to support her allegations, which Pachauri vehemently denied.

Dr. Pachauri, 74, is one of the world’s foremost officials on the subject of climate change, even winning a joint Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice-president Al Gore in 2007 for their part in galvanizing international action over the issue.

Following the allegations, he also had resigned as chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Delhi High Court in January had sought a response from Pachauri and the police on charges that he was influencing TERI officials to settle the sexual harassment case.

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