Another former employee of The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) accused its executive vice-chairman RK Pachauri on Wednesday of sexually harassing her and other women in her presence, alleging that police did not take action on her complaint.
The woman who quit the institute in 2003 because of Pachauri’s alleged sexual harassment lodged a complaint with Delhi police through her lawyer Vrinda Grover, saying she got courage from the case filed by a 29-year-old woman researcher on similar charges. She alleged that police refused to cooperate in getting a case registered against Pachauri.
DCP South Prem Nath hit back, saying Grover refused to provide details for police to record her statement.
“We told the lawyer (Grover) that the police will thoroughly examine the complaint and register a case and that the women who have faced similar sexual harassment at TERI should come and give their statement but she refused to divulge any details about the victim... Who will the police take action against if the complainant is not coming forward to give a complaint?” Prem Nath said.
In a statement issued through her lawyers, advocate Grover and Ratna Appnender, on Wednesday reiterating the charge first made about a year ago, the woman provided details of her complaint.
TERI did not respond to a questionnaire from HT.
In her five-page statement, the woman who worked at TERI for a year detailed the harassment she was allegedly subjected to. “Soon after I joined TERI and began interacting with Mr RK Pachauri, he had renamed me with a sexually suggestive nickname “xxxx”. He said that this was a derivative of my official name and suited me far better. I recall that he said things like xxxx is sweet, and also how attractive flowers attract bees etc,” the statement said.
On another occasion, she described how the 75-year-old Pachauri called her to his office and told her “he could lift hefty and heavy women, and so lifting me would not be a problem for him”.
She mentioned another incident when she was on leave from work because of ill health and Pachauri called her and offered a massage.
“He called me on my mobile number to ask why I was not in office. When I told him that I was suffering from migraine, he said, ‘Hum bahut achhi champi kartein hain… aap chahein kar sakte hain’ (I give very good head massage… if you want I can give you a massage)” the statement said.
“On several occasions Mr RK Pachauri would ask me intrusive questions about my personal life, about when my husband was going to be out of town, and how I spent my weekends. He would pass comments about the clothes I was wearing, asking me whether my husband gave me a particular dress etc. He made constant attempts to meet me socially outside the office,” it added.
Another time she accuses Pachauri of propositioning her indirectly using a lewd manuscript. He allegedly asked her to read his book and offered to loan her his private farmhouse for that purpose.
“He told me that... he would like me to read and make suggestions before he handed it to the publisher... He suggested that I could use his house/farmhouse to read in seclusion, and that he would like to join me for discussions etc. He suggested we meet after work to discuss the novel. I told him that I would not go to his house and I found such suggestions by him very disturbing and unprofessional... When I thumbed through the manuscript, I came across graphic descriptions of sex,” she said.
As the reiteration of the charges came two days after Pachauri’s promotion was formally announced on Monday, his lawyer said the complaint was meant to prejudice court proceedings.
“This is not a new complaint. There is no complaint for that matter -- this woman seems to only appear on TV and nowhere else. It’s being circulated a day before Dr Pachauri’s high court hearing, and can only be meant to create prejudice and is only intended to prejudice the proceedings,” Pachauri’s lawyer Ashish Dixit said.
The complainant’s lawyers rebutted DCP Prem Nath’s comment that the victim did not provide enough details to police. “We sent letters to the police on behalf of the woman saying she wanted to give a statement that the Pachauri sexually harassed her while she worked at TERI. Our addresses and contact details as her lawyers however the police made no effort to respond to the woman’s lawyers nor did they ever ask for the complainant’s details. The woman herself has not recieved any communication from the police. The person alleging sexual harassment should not have to make repeated efforts to contact the police. Once such information has been communicated to the police, it’s their duty to take appropriate action,” they said in a statement.