All-woman panel to look into charges against Pachauri

  • Avantika Mehta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 02, 2015 00:31 IST

An all-woman Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) will look into the sexual harassment charges against Teri director general RK Pachauri levelled by a young employee, who has also filed a criminal case of harassment and criminal intimidation against him.

The only man on the panel — Teri’s human resources department head PK Agarwal — was removed after the complainant objected to his inclusion, saying he was biased and had advised her to compromise on the matter internally and not press charges.

A Delhi court on Wednesday directed Teri officials to remove Agarwal from the panel. Additional sessions judge Raj Kumar Tripathi also ordered 74-year-old Pachauri not to meet Agarwal. The judge refused Pachauri’s request to be examined by the ICC on Teri premises and said, “The same is held beyond/ outside premises of Teri. The accused can meet only the three members of the ICC but not PK Agarwal.” Pachauri had, on Wednesday, approached the court, seeking modification of the March 21 order granting him anticipatory bail in the case. He had asked to be questioned by the ICC on Teri premises.

The ICC will consist of Suruchi Bhadwal, associate director of Teri’s Earth Sciences and Climate Change division; Ranjana Saikia, director of the Educating Youth for Sustainable Development division and Sonal Mattoo, a rights lawyer.

The ICC had earlier met the complainant who had objected to Agarwal’s inclusion in the panel. However, his name continued to feature in the ICC list sent by Teri to the Delhi Police on March 23, sources told HT.

During the brief hearing, the complainant’s lawyer Prashant Mendiratta brought up her objections against Agarwal and informed the court that the woman had previously raised the issue with the ICC when they had met her. “We were assured that he would not be included,” he said.

On hearing this, the court gave the investigating officer (IO) a few minutes to find out from Teri the status of Agarwal’s inclusion in the panel. After the IO spoke to officials at the institute, the court was informed that the HR head was not in the ICC. Accordingly, the court modified its earlier order to allow Pachauri to meet the ICC but not on Teri premises.

On February 13, an FIR was registered against Pachauri for sexual harassment and criminal intimidation.

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