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RK Pachauri row: Second woman speaks up; 20 alumni of Teri refuse to take degrees

The Woman, To Whom He Had Made Sexual Advances More Than 10 Years Ago, Today Also Slammed TERI For Appointing Pachauri To A Higher Position, Executive Vice Chairman, Two Days Ago.

PTI | Updated on: 11 Feb 2016, 08:13:56 AM

New Delhi :

Trouble mounted for R K Pachauri, who is in the thick of a legal battle over sexual harassment allegations, when another woman, a former employee of TERI, today came out in public making similar allegations while demands were made for putting on hold his fresh appointment as its Executive Vice Chairman.

The woman, to whom he had made sexual advances more than 10 years ago, today also slammed TERI for appointing Pachauri to a higher position, Executive Vice Chairman, two days ago.

Giving details of the case, her lawyer, Vrinda Grover, said that they had  first reported the complaint in February last year with police which did not do anything till date forcing her to come out in public with the charges.

“Pachauri would use the excuse of work assignments to repeatedly call me to his office room, even though there was no real work that he needed to discuss.

“This made me feel very uncomfortable and I used to try to dodge some meetings or ask my colleagues to go for the meetings”, the woman said during a telephonic interview with NDTV.

When contacted, Pachauri’s lawyer Ashish Dixit said he has not seen the second complaint and he cannot comment.

Pachauri is already facing a case in Delhi High Court filed by another former TERI employee of sexual harassment.

Slamming Pachauri’s appointment, the second complainant said, “India's pathetic record on crime against women has touched an abyss. R K Pachauri, a serial sexual harasser, who should have been punished by now, has actually been rewarded with a new and higher position!”

Grover also asserted that the woman wanted to appear as “material evidence” in the on-going case against Pachauri to show his “character and conduct” with female employees.

The complaint, which originally made in February last year  was circulated again today, alleged that “Soon after I joined TERI and began interacting with Pachauri, he had renamed me with a sexually suggestive nickname ‘xxxx’.  He said that this was a derivative of my official name and suited me far better.”

Ex-TERI staff, alumni demand deferment of Pachauri’s appointment

A group of former TERI employees and its University Alumni today condemned appointment of R K Pachauri as Executive Vice Chairman of the green body, saying it was a “slap” on the face of those fighting against gender discrimination and demanded deferment of his elevation till the case was decided by the court.

“This latest appointment of Pachauri as the ‘superboss’ of TERI comes across as a slap in the face of all those (women and men) who have ever tried to stand up against gender discrimination or sexual harassment at workplace,” the group under the banner of ‘A few concerned ex-TERI employees and members of TERI University Alumni network’ said in a statement.

Terming the decision of TERI Governing Council as “unfortunate”, they said it will give Pachauri “all the powers and access to intimidate witnesses” in the case.

“Appointment of any person to one of the senior most positions of the same organisation where the alleged crime occurs is out rightly unfortunate. Therefore, any appointment (actually a promotion) of Pachauri in TERI should be deferred till the case has been closed by the court,” they said.

“This also sends out an extremely wrong message to all TERI employees and TERI university students, through indirect intimidation and by essentially suppressing their voices forever. As a Vice Chairman with executive powers Dr Pachauri could potentially have all powers as well as access to continue to intimidate witnesses of the case,” they said.

Meanwhile, Pachauri has told the court that he never exercised any pressure on the organisation and its officials as alleged by his former woman colleague in the sexual harassment case lodged against him.

Pachauri was appointed as Executive Vice Chairman of TERI on February 8 after Ajay Mathur took over the charge from him as Director General of the green body.

In February last year, a junior colleague had accused him of sexual harassment, following which he went on leave but joined work in July after a court quashed the internal committee report that found him guilty of misconduct.

He was removed as chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body of scientists that makes periodic assessment of climate change science.

The group, which has submitted the letter to TERI’s governing council, has also started an online petition to garner support for Pachauri’s removal from TERI.

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First Published : 11 Feb 2016, 08:05:00 AM