A day after she wrote an open letter to express her disappointment over RK Pachauri’s elevation in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the woman who had filed a sexual harassment case against him told HT in an email interview that she is finally focusing on her career to make up for the lost time and is happy to get support from TERI students.
What was your immediate reaction when you heard about RK Pachauri’s promotion as the executive vice-chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)?
I’ll admit that while I was still on unpaid leave from TERI, I did hear about something of this nature being in the offing. There were strong rumours/news and this was also one of the reasons why I chose to quit altogether. It was just not possible for me to return to TERI, at the division I was working from, to the work that I was doing. Now that this has been officially announced, it was most disturbing to learn.
You said that your colleagues were being pressured to convince you to settle the matter. Did anyone from TERI directly approach you? What are the ways they used to build pressure on you to withdraw the complaint?
My colleagues were allegedly approached by members of TERI’s senior management multiple times. They shared with me these approaches, around September-October last year. I felt intimidated and disturbed. How could I have gone back and worked at such a place? My colleagues, too, seemed under pressure. It felt more like a signal to not return to TERI ever.
In your open letter, you wrote that you had sleepless nights with no job in hand, no source of income. Have things changed?
Thankfully, yes. I am working elsewhere. It did take time to formalise things as I was unable to work full time due to my health and added fatigue, both mental and physical. I feel now that my work is valued and my interests, as an employee, are upheld. I have my hands full with responsibilities; shuttling between two roles and a project. I have chosen to take on multiple roles to make up for lost time on account of not being allowed to work by TERI and the time lost before my complaint. I was never asked any ridiculous or controversial question due to my CV.
How would you describe the work culture at TERI?
The DG is the most powerful position in the entire organisation. The staff would look up to him, worship him; some under fear and some under awe. I will only reveal all details in court when my matter goes to trial; it is now sub judice.
What’s next? Is there still hope for justice?
I no longer work at TERI. I have already challenged the way TERI has dealt the matter post the filing of my complaint. I need to focus on the criminal case and pace myself with other litigations. I have a long way to go. I do not think that the GC will ever deliberate on the ICC report and award him with disciplinary action. I am taking each day as it comes and see no reason to give up. I have immense support from my social circle and my lawyers and it is heartening to see what the TU students are doing. I want to take this to its logical conclusion.