Sexual harassment case: RK Pachauri continues to face heat

ON Friday, the governing council of TERI met and nudged Pachauri to go on leave.

New Delhi: RK Pachauri on Saturday faced more heat with the alumni of TERI university attacking the governing council's decision to send him on "paid leave" against their demand for his removal or suspension in the wake of serious sexual harassment allegations against him.

A statement issued on behalf of about 350 alumni of the TERI University said they have decided to continued their protest and to seek government's intervention, if needed.

They expressed unhappiness over sending Pachauri, who is fighting a legal case of sexual harassment filed against him by a former employee, on an indefinite leave.

Yesterday, the governing council of TERI met and nudged Pachauri to go on leave from the green body as well as its governing council till its decision is reviewed given the subjudice nature of the matter.

This decision came amidst mounting outrage over Pachauri's elevation as executive Vice Chairman of TERI despite his facing a swirl of sexual harassment allegations.

"On behalf of TERI alumni, we would like to express unhappiness regarding the governing council's decision of sending Pachauri on an indefinite leave.

"The TERI University alumni network condemns this decision as we believe that the council needs to understand that requesting the 'removal or suspension from a position of higher power' is not equivalent to sending him on a 'paid leave'. Even on "Leave from all positions", Pachauri remains associated with TERI and TERI University.

The alumni perceived this decision by the Council as a

step to cool the current protests because it not only opens the possibility of him joining the institute anytime the Governing Council deems appropriate but also keeps the channel of influencing the witnesses indirectly.

"We are extremely disappointed by actions of the Governing Council members who have not only disrespected the power and trust invested upon them but also the law and public morality.

"By showing an utter disregard to the TERI university alumni's letter sent the day before yesterday which requested that Pachauri be removed or suspended from any position at TERI or TERI University until he is cleared of all legal proceedings clearly prove that the Council is on the side of Pachauri and is willing to defend him at the cost of losing the respect and support of the current and ex-students of TERI university," the statement released by Nitasha, an alumni of 2008 batch, said.

The alumni group had submitted a letter to TERI's governing council on February 10 demanding his suspension from the green body and also started an online petition to mobilise support against him.

Former Competition Commission chief Ashok Chawla was yesterday appointed Chairman of TERI yesterday after incumbent BV Sreekantan resigned in the midst of current controversies.

On February 11, Pachauri had proceeded on leave from TERI University after students had refused to receive degrees from him. He had said that he would not be part of the varsity's convocation which is scheduled to take place on March 7.

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