Ex-UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri given new India post amid sex claims

Pachauri is alleged to have pestered a 29-year-old colleague with inappropriate texts and emails.
Pachauri is alleged to have pestered a 29-year-old colleague with inappropriate texts and emails.PHOTO: WORLD FUTURE ENERGY SUMMIT

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Former UN climate panel chief Rajendra Pachauri has been given a new top post at his Indian think-tank, the organisation said Tuesday, amid allegations he sexually harassed a female co-worker.

The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) announced last July that Pachauri, 75, was being replaced as head of the organisation where he has worked for 35 years.

The announcement came in the wake of claims Pachauri, a leading voice on the dangers of global warming, pestered a 29-year-old colleague with inappropriate texts and e-mails.

Pachauri's successor took over as director-general on Monday, prompting Teri's governing council to appoint Pachauri to a newly created post of executive vice-chairman.

"Dr Pachauri assumes the role of executive vice-chairman of the governing council. He will provide guidance on specific tasks of Teri's expansion in this country and overseas," a Teri spokeswoman said in an email.

Pachauri was forced to resign as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last February after his colleague filed her complaint.

He has denied the allegations and said his emails and mobile phone were hacked.

Pachauri's lawyer Ashish Dixit said there had never been any suggestion Pachauri, who had continued to head Teri until his replacement started, would leave the organisation altogether.

A court barred Pachauri from Teri's offices after the complaint, but later allowed him to return while still on bail, on condition that he steer clear of his alleged victim.

The researcher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, quit in November, saying the institute had treated her in the "worst possible manner", a charge it denies.

No formal charges have been brought against him, and a Delhi police investigation is continuing.

On Tuesday, the researcher released an "open letter" protesting Pachauri's "promotion".

"Shamelessness abounds," she said in the letter that was widely circulated on social media.

"The news of (the) promotion of a man who stands booked on charges of sexual harassment at (the) workplace, stalking and criminal intimidation by (the) country's who's who makes my flesh crawl," she said in the letter.

Her lawyer Prashant Mendiratta told AFP that the letter was genuine.

Dixit denied media reports on Tuesday that Pachauri would retain executive control of Teri in his new role.

"He will be guiding and supervising international projects," Dixit told AFP.