A day after R K Pachauri was elevated as executive vice-chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the woman who had pressed sexual harassment charges against him last year said the news of Pachauri’s promotion had made her “flesh crawl”.
In an open letter, the ‘victim’, a former subordinate colleague of Pachauri at TERI, also said that she intended to take her complaint to “its logical conclusion”. Pachauri denies the allegations.
Pachauri, who headed TERI as its director-general for about three and a half decades, became executive vice-chairman of the organisation, a post created for him, as a new person, Ajay Mathur, took over as the director general.
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Mathur had been selected by TERI’s governing council in July last year to succeed Pachauri in the wake of sexual harassment charges and a police complaint against him. Pachauri had to relinquish his position as chairman of the Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well. But he has managed to hang in at TERI, even getting himself promoted.
“Shamelessness abounds! The news of promotion of a man who stands booked on charges of sexual harassment at workplace, stalking and criminal intimidation… makes my flesh crawl,” the victim wrote in her letter.
The victim, who had resigned from TERI last year, said many of her friends and colleagues still working with the organisation had been asked to persuade her to withdraw her complaint against Pachauri. “Not a day passed without a message showing up on my mobile, warning me or bringing forth concerns,” she wrote, claiming friends told her that their computer at office was always under watch because “they know that I support you”, or “they were asking me about your family background”.
TERI has denied such allegations in the past. It has also claimed that it has offered all support to the victim.
“For someone in my position who has had zero support from the organisation, when made privy to such developments was most disturbing. What in the world was I to expect and why would I risk more than what is already lost. Not just the governing council but others in TERI have shown where their conscience (if any) leans,” the victim said.
She also described the situation which forced her to quit TERI. “I spoke up and was quarantined from work… not allowed to resume work and no earnings for a long time. No money and a tainted curriculum vitae gave me sleepless nights. It was getting beyond my dignity to be associated with such an organisation and in the best of my interest, I quit. I felt most lighter in my mind and body on quitting TERI…. I deserved better,” she said.