The Energy and Resources Institute’s (Teri) executive vice-chairman RK Pachauri, facing sexual harassment charges from two former employees, has gone on leave while the environment think tank’s governing council will meet on Friday to decide his future role.
The council said late on Thursday that it will issue a detailed statement on the roles, responsibilities and leadership at Teri after the meeting.
“Till then, we will urge you (media) to avoid any speculation on the matter,” a Teri spokesperson said.
Thursday’s statement said the council has appointed Ajay Mathur with full executive powers to run the organisation.
It came within four days of Teri announcing to its employees on February 8 about the elevation of Pachauri as executive vice-chairman.
A 29-year-old researcher lodged a police complaint against Pachauri in February 2015 of sexual harassment. Within days, another woman made a similar complaint. The complainants and activists have expressed shock at his recent elevation.
For his part, Pachauri has gone on leave and won’t attend Teri University’s convocation scheduled for March 7. This prompted the alumni to accuse him of using “diversionary tactics”.
Pachauri, the university chancellor, announced his decision in a letter to acting vice-chancellor Rajiv Seth.
On Wednesday, alumni members wrote to Sethi and the Teri council saying they won’t accept their degrees from Pachauri because of the charges against him.
A day later, they dubbed the technocrat’s decision a ploy to divert attention. “Once things calm down he will be back. We don’t want someone who committed a crime, has hurt another person to be at the helm of our institute,” a 2015-batch student said.