New Delhi: A third woman has levelled sexual harassment allegations against TERI executive vice chairman R.K. Pachauri through an open letter on Thursday.
The letter was accessed by IANS from her lawyers Vrinda Grover and Ratna Appender. She is the third woman to speak out about the alleged sexual harassment committed by Pachauri.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) head was accused of sexually harassing a female colleague in 2015. He stepped down as chairperson of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February last year. In November, the woman researcher who accused him of sexual harassment quit her job at TERI, alleging that she was treated badly.
The latest complainant issued a statement through her lawyers after Pachauri, 75, gave an interview to the British newspaper “The Observer” saying that “the (first) complainant was acting for money and was probably set up to trap him by persons unknown”.
A second female employee has also filed a police report against Pachauri.
In the open letter, the (latest) complaint who was working with the accused in 2008, said,”Pachauri would put his hands on my waist repeated times, he would hug me longer than felt comfortable, kissed me on the cheek and inquired about my private life. I started feeling insecure about his motives for hiring me, and felt extremely uncomfortable being around him.”
Lawyer Ratna Appender told IANS, that the (third) woman approached lawyers with her complaint in February 2015.
“He would call me during non-working hours and holidays to ask me to come to his office and when arriving it became evident that he had no specific task for me. Pachauri would indulge in frivolous talk and try to get close to me,” she said.
The complainant also alleged of his various advances towards her such as asking her “to join him at his summer house outside of the city for the weekend”.
“At this point I felt genuinely scared of what his motives for inviting me over were, and I decided to speak out and set a firm limit. I told him that he needed to behave more professionally and that I wanted us to have no other contact than during office hours. He didn’t take this very well…,” she said in her statement.
“I spoke quite openly about my experience, and I found out from many sources that this was nothing new and that Pachauri has been involved in many similar situations. I heard this from two TERI ex-employees, as well as two other people I met, who had overheard journalists talking about how everybody knows he is a womanizer but no one says anything,” the statement further reads.
The complaint also said that despite her contract being for a period of one year, it was abruptly terminated after four months.
“When he terminated my contract, I did not think there was any point in contesting it, as from my conversations with former employees at TERI I had gotten the feeling that it would be of little use trying to challenge any decision of Pachauri’s. I also felt very relieved that I would not have to face Pachauri’s sexual harassment any longer,” the statement read.