The troubles for RK Pachauri, accused of sexually harassing a woman employee at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), are far from over. Another woman, a former employee of TERI, has come out in public with allegations of harassment during her stint at the institute in 2003 amid a mounting chorus to cancel his fresh appointment as Executive Vice Chairman of the green body.
"He would travel very often but whenever he was back at the TERI building, he would go floor to floor and pass by cabins and work stations, winking at women and chatting with them," the woman told The Indian Express.
The woman, who was in her 20s back then, alleged that she was put in a position where she had to interact directly with Pachauri and subsequently the harassment began.
He would travel very often but whenever he was back at the TERI building, he would go floor to floor and pass by cabins and work stations, winking at women and chatting with them.
Her lawyer Vrinda Grover said yesterday that they had first complained to the police in February last year. But the police did not act on her complaint, 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.
Pachauri's lawyer Ashish Dixit told PTI that he has not seen the second complaint and he cannot comment.
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.
"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The complaint, which originally made in February last year was circulated again today, alleged that "Soon after I joined TERI and began interacting with Pachauri, he had renamed me with a sexually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."
The woman had joined TERI in 2003 and Pachauri was the Director General during that time.
"I worked there for over a year... My job description required me to interact with him in person on occasions. He would often telephone me himself or have his secretary call me," she alleged.
According to her complaint, she had raised the matter to the administrative director of the organisation who refused to believe her allegations.
"I complained to Commodore Joshi, the then Director, Administration, Services and TERI Press, who was also a close aide of Pachauri. He refused to believe me, saying that I may have misread his warmth and that such things had never been reported, and requested me to end the matter there," she alleged.
The woman also claimed that she was threatened by Pachauri after she submitted her resignation letter saying that he would not let her join anywhere else.
Soon after I joined TERI and began interacting with Pachauri, he had renamed me with a sexually suggestive nickname 'xxxx'.
"He threatened that from the airport to the city I was going to, he had friends everywhere and that he would see how I would leave his employment," she said in the complaint.
Meanwhile, a group of former TERI employees and its university alumni today condemned appointment of Pachauri as Executive Vice Chairman of the green body, saying that it was a "slap" in the face of those fighting against gender discrimination and demanded deferment of his elevation till the case comes to an end legally.
"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.
Here's the full statement from the second complainant.
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Meanwhile, a group of TERI University students have written a letter to the Acting Vice Chancellor Dr Rajiv Seth refusing to accept their degrees from Pachauri.
Dr. Rajiv Seth
10, Institutional Area,
New Delhi – 110070
Sub: Refusal to accept degrees from Dr. Pachauri at 2016 convocation by 2013-2015 batch
Dear Dr. Seth,
The recent inaction of our board of management at TERI University with respect to our current chancellor Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri deeply saddens us as alumni and a former student body. The senior management and administration of TERI University has chosen to retain Dr. Pachauri as Chancellor and has also accepted the decision of TERI’s governing council to appoint him to the newly created post of Executive vice chairman.
We are aware of Dr. Pachauri’s immense contributions towards building both TERI and TERI University into what they have become today, and his ability to build global networks, promote the university and institute and to draw funds, projects and grants.
Nevertheless, no measure of such contributions can be used to justify alleged criminal behavior in the form of actions that cause serious harm to another human being. However, the stance of the entire top management at the University and at TERI has been implicitly that the university may continue churning out competent professionals who are good at application in their specialized domains of knowledge but with a complete disregard for values, ethics and principles of any kind.
We will not appreciate and consider a response based on the grounds that the charges against Dr. Pachauri are still “allegations”, and that he has not been convicted. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave Dr. Pachauri no leeway for his alleged actions and he had to resign as its Chairman despite the fact that he was near the end of his term. This stands in stark contrast with either TERI, which has created a unique position for him, or TERIUniversity, which has let him continue in his capacity as Chancellor. Our rationale and conscience are both clear: the Internal Complaints Committee constituted by TERI has found Dr. Pachauri to be guilty of having systematically abused his position of power to exploit and sexually harass a colleague.
Given the flow of events, it is seems like Dr. Pachauri is using all his political clout, media influence and networks to stall the judicial process, intimidate witnesses, coerce TERI colleagues and employees to ‘persuade’ the complainant to withdraw her case and settle out of court as it would be ‘better for her since she has nothing more to gain’.
As we take small steps in building our careers at different institutions of repute, it is becoming increasingly unviable for us to stay silent on this matter, which we consider to be an absolute contempt of principles, ethics and the law. We have a certain duty to uphold some sense of justness as responsible citizens of society.
Dr. Pachauri’s continuing presence at the top is completely antithetical to our convictions as alumni and graduates of TERI University. We would like to make it explicitly clear that we are not in a position to accept our degrees from Dr. Pachauri at the upcoming convocation on March 7th, 2016. We reiterate, that the trajectory that the University is taking is dangerous and grossly inconsiderate, and as alumni, we sincerely hope that the TERI University Board of Management may seriously re‐evaluate Dr. Pachauri’s continuing role as Chancellor of the university.
It is only the basic and essential good practice that he may immediately recuse himself from the post of chancellor and cease involvement in TERI University matters pending completion of legal proceedings.
Barring an appropriate response from the TERI University Board of Management, as 2013‐2015 alumni we will make the assumption that the situation remains unchanged and that the University will not engage constructively with our concerns, following which, the undersigned will not be in a position to accept their degrees from Dr. Pachauri at the 2016 convocation.
(With PTI inputs)
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