Accorded special privileges to woman complainant: TERI

Days after a woman, who filed a sexual harassment case against R K Pachauri, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to ensure a fair investigation, the green body TERI Tuesday said that it had gone "out of its way" to protect her and given her special privileges.

PTI| Updated: Aug 18, 2015, 15:15 PM IST

New Delhi: Days after a woman, who filed a sexual harassment case against R K Pachauri, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to ensure a fair investigation, the green body TERI Tuesday said that it had gone "out of its way" to protect her and given her special privileges.

In a statement issued today in response to "factual errors" regarding the woman's allegations against TERI, the green body said that special privileges were given to the complainant to ensure that she is treated fairly and her claims are "flatly contradicted by a well-documented record."

"The record is clear that TERI has gone out of its way to accommodate and protect the complainant while her allegations are being carefully investigated by the police.

"Indeed, TERI's management has accorded special privileges to the complainant to ensure that she is treated fairly. Claims to the contrary made by the complainant are flatly contradicted by a well-documented record," the green body said in a statement.

The woman had written to Modi a few days back urging him to ensure that the investigation is carried out in a "free and fair" manner.

The woman had said that it was "most unfortunate" to note the "scary silence and inaction" of the Governing Council of the Institute which has the who's who of corporate India.

On February 13 this year, an FIR was registered against 74-year-old Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment levelled by the woman, a senior TERI employee.

On July 23, Pachauri was removed as the Director General of the green body by its governing council and replaced with Ajay Mathur, currently DG of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).

In the statement, TERI today said that as an institute, it has been cooperating fully with the police and has facilitated the interrogation of all the staff that the police identified for questioning.

"It is relevant to point out that in the judgement of the Sessions Court on March 21 this year, the Learned Judge has stated clearly that 'evidence in the case is of documentary and electronic in nature'. Nevertheless, TERI facilitated the police in questioning several TERI employees," it said. Referring to the woman's claim where she said she "cannot join back work and is made to sit at home past five months and further victimised'", the green body said that she was allowed leave on full pay for 90 days extra to her leave account for the period 18/02/2015 to 18/05/2015 in keeping with the provisions of the relevant Act.

At the same time, she was also allowed to take leave with pay as admissible to her and as available in her leave account.

"This period ended on 26/05/2015 (forenoon) beyond which she preferred to stay on leave without pay. She is welcome to return to her duties at any time. As of now she has given no indication of whether and when she would like to resume work.

"Several reminders have been sent to her, in response to which she has shown no inclination to resume work. In most organisations there is a time limit on the extent to which leave without pay is allowed," TERI said.

TERI said that it will "continue" to support the complainant not only in compliance with the Act but through the "extraordinary accommodations" it has made for her. "But we have a duty to correct false claims against TERI and misrepresentation of facts," it said.

"TERI as an institute has been generous and liberal in allowing the complainant to remain on indefinite leave without any indication of the date when such leave would be ended by her," it added.

Noting that in TERI 33.8 per cent of the regular work force consists of women totalling to 319 employees and a large number of the short-term employees, totalling 250, also consists of women, TERI said that the institute has long supported the rights of women and has consistently ensured the provision of a secure environment and a safe work place for women at every level.

"Given the kind of influence and clout the accused enjoys, I feel very apprehensive and fear for how the investigations would unfold. I request you to take cognisance of my circumstances and of the facts so far to ensure that investigation is carried out in a fair and free manner," the woman said in her letter to the Prime Minister.

"It is imperative that the accused should not be holding the highest position in the organisation where more witnesses are yet to depose and the accused can exercise his clout and influence to sabotage other aspects of investigation," she said in her letter written on Friday night.