Never pressurised TERI, officials in sexual harassment case: Pachauri to HC

New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) Environmentalist R.K. Pachauri, accused by a former colleague of sexual harassment in February last year, told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that he has “never exercised any pressure upon TERI and its officials”.

Refuting the claim of the victim that as per media reports, Pachauri was influencing The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) officials to settle the sexual harassment case lodged against him, he, in an affidavit filed in the court, termed the allegations “blatant”.

“The answering respondent (Pachauri) has never exercised any pressure upon TERI and its officials. It is matter of record that he was away from TERI from February 2015 till July 2015…,” said the affidavit filed by Pachauri.

After the woman employee of TERI filed a sexual harassment complaint, Pachauri denied the charge but stepped down as chairperson of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February last year and proceeded on leave from TERI where he was the director general.

Later, Pachauri was removed as TERI head in July and Ajay Mathur appointed in his place. In November, the woman researcher who accused him of sexual harassment quit her job at TERI, alleging she was treated badly. TERI denied the charge.

However, now Pachauri has been appointed executive vice-chairman of the organisation despite the ongoing inquiry in the sexual harassment case.

Reacting to Pachauri’s promotion, the woman had written an open letter questioning the move. She described the promotion of Pachauri as “shameless”.

“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,” she said.

Pachauri was granted anticipatory bail in March last year, against which the woman had approached the high court seeking its cancellation. She filed a fresh application saying a TERI employee filed a police complaint on January 12 saying senior officials of the organisation were pressurising him to have the matter settled by the woman with Pachauri.

Objecting to the application, Pachauri said: “The petitioner (woman) was not even in India when the application was filed therefore it is submitted that no cognizance of this frivolous application ought to be taken by this court.”

“The conduct of the petitioner is deplorable and against the ethics which ought to have been possessed as an officer of this court,” he said terming the allegation of influencing the TERI staff as “false and misleading”.

“The petitioner has made an attempt to mislead this court by portraying that the news report says that Pachauri instructed the ex colleague of the petitioner to get the matter settle. This is blatant. The petitioner has not produced the article which is the premise of the application under reply.

“It is incorrect that there is any written complaint against Pachauri as being portrayed… The counsel for the petitioner has deliberately made false averments in order to sensationalize the whole issue,” added the affidavit.

Justice S.P. Garg would hear the matter on Thursday.

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