Bengaluru: Renowned climate scientist R K Pachauri, who is battling charges of sexual harassment by a junior colleague, was today sacked as chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) by its top decision making body.
The decision to show the door to Pachauri as Director General of the non-profit think-tank, TERI, was taken by its Governing Council that has some of the influential names of corporate India, at a meeting held here. The Council chose Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) Director General Dr Ajay Mathur as successor to 74-year old Pachauri, who was allowed by a Delhi court recently to enter his office premises while keeping the head office and a branch in Gurgaon off limits for him.
“The Governing Council (GC) of TERI at its meeting held in Bangalore today took a decision to appoint Dr Ajay Mathur, currently Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Government of India, as the Director General (DG) of TERI,” the environment body said in a statement.
Pachauri has been booked on charges of molestation, stalking, sexual harassment (Sections 354, 354A, 354D of IPC) and criminal intimidation (Section 506 of IPC) on a complaint by a 29-year-old woman in February 13.
Pachauri quit as the chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this year after the woman in her complaint, alleged that he sent her inappropriate emails, text and WhatsApp messages, charges that were denied by him.
“…Pachauri will not continue… The long term interest of TERI is paramount,” Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chief of biotech giant Biocon, who is on the Governing Council, told PTI after the meeting.
The Council also includes non-executive chairman of the board of HDFC Deepak Parekh, banker Naina Lal Kidwai, veteran investment banker Hemendra Kothari and Earth Sciences and Secretary Shailesh Naik.
Mathur will take up his new responsibilities as soon as he is in a position to do so, subsequent to being relieved from his current responsibilities by the Government of India after a brief period of transition, the TERI statement said. “Pachauri has led and built TERI over the last 34 years from a concept to a major, financially autonomous, professionally dynamic organisation on the global stage,” it said.
It said the decision to appoint Mathur was the culmination of an extensive search process and an intensive evaluation of candidates from across the globe. “All efforts will be made to aid and assist Dr Ajay Mathur in a smooth and expeditious transition, as the latter assumes responsibility as TERI’s new chief executive,” it said.
The statement said the Council is certain that the 1,200 persons working for TERI in different parts of the world would “welcome this development, and extend all their support towards a smooth transition…” The Delhi court’s decision last week allowing Pachauri access to all TERI offices in the country except the ones in Delhi and Gurgaon had come after the police sought cancellation of his anticipatory bail, saying he was influencing witnesses and misusing the liberty of bail.
Pachauri had told the court that there was “nothing on record to suggest that he has ever influenced witnesses or any other persons related to the present case or interfered in the investigation.”
The complainant, a research analyst, had alleged in her application that “free and fair investigation” cannot be carried out if Pachauri was “allowed to roam around freely”.