India

RK Pachauri: Action against ex-UN climate head over new complaint

File photo of Rajendra K Pachauri Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Pachauri was removed as the head of TERI in July after facing allegations from a female employee

The former head of the UN climate change panel, RK Pachauri, has been forced to go on indefinite leave by the environmental think tank TERI following a new accusation of sexual harassment.

He was removed as the head of The Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi (TERI) in July when a female employee accused him of harassment.

However, he was recently awarded a newly-created senior post at TERI.

The latest accusation by a second employee has caused widespread outrage.

Dr Pachauri has denied all accusations against him.

"Dr RK Pachauri, who had been at the head of the institute since 1982 will be on leave from TERI, TERI Governing Council, and TERI University till this is reviewed by the Governing Council given the subjudice nature of the matter," the think tank said in a statement on Friday evening.

Earlier this week, TERI appointed Mr Pachauri to a newly-created post of executive vice chairman, after his successor took over his previous position as director general.

The latest complaint by a former employee came just after news of his new job emerged.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The latest accusation against Mr Pachauri has caused widespread outrage in India

In a statement issued by her lawyers, the woman who joined TERI in 2003 and worked there for over a year accused Mr Pachauri of making "sexually loaded remarks", kissing her forcibly and asking "intrusive questions" about her personal life.

She described him as a "serial sexual harasser" and said harassment by Mr Pachauri was an "open secret" in the think tank.

After the first accusation was made in February last year, a court barred Mr Pachauri from TERI's offices. It later allowed him to return while still on bail, on condition that he stayed away from his alleged victim. He was also removed as chief of TERI for a year.

He resigned as the head of the UN climate change panel in the wake of the allegations.

In 2007 he collected the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the organisation, for its work in the scientific assessment of the risks and causes of climate change.

The IPCC shared the award with former US vice-president and environmental campaigner, Al Gore.

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