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Third woman accuses Pachauri of sexual harassment

April 01, 2016 09:36 IST

The woman says she worked closely with the former TERI chief for four months in 2008

In more embarrassment for former The Energy and Resources Institute boss R K Pachauri, a European woman who claimed to be his former secretary, has now accused him of sexual harassment, after two women who worked at the environment think tank levelled similar charges against him.

In a letter to well-known advocate Vrinda Grover, who is representing the complainant in the sexual harassment case against the eminent environmentalist, the woman said she had worked at TERI as Pachauri’s secretary in 2008. She had contacted Grover in February 2015 after she came to know of an FIR against Pachauri in a sexual harassment case.

When contacted, Pachauri refused to comment but his lawyer Ashish Dixit termed it as a “conspiracy” to defame his client and questioned why every time such a case came up it was Grover who gave statements and there were no police complaints.

Grover sent to media houses the statement of the woman who said,” I remember that in the third week of February 2015, I had read some news reports which said that an employee of TERI had filed a criminal complaint against R K Pachauri for sexually harassing her.

“On reading these news reports, I was 0 per cent surprised. I can very much relate to what the other women wrote in her statement.”

The woman, who claimed she was 19 when Pachauri harassed her, will be represented by Grover and another lawyer Ratna Appnender.

Appnender said that although the police was informed about the statement and told that the woman was ready to present herself before them, they did not make any effort to contact her.

The woman, whose exact nationality was not revealed, said she noticed a “big difference” in the way Pachauri behaved with her and Indian men with whom he maintained a “polite distance”.

When contacted, Pachauri said,”Please talk to my lawyer Ashish Dixit. My lawyer will speak on the subject.”

Dixit said, “It is a conspiracy by Vrinda Grover to defame Pachauri. Everytime a woman is said to make allegations, it is only to press, not to police or court.

“Why is that every woman comes and reports to Vrinda Grover. There is some conspiracy. It only happens when there is some court hearing. There is a matter coming up. To prejudice the judges these types of reports are aired,” he said.

“The serious question is why every girl who has no identity approaches Grover and she is the one who gives statement to media. Is there no police or no court,” he said.

The woman alleged that the “tipping point” came when Pachauri asked her to join him at his summer residence outside Delhi which is when she spoke out and asked him to be more professional towards him after which she was transferred to another department of TERI.

“I left New Delhi a few weeks after that. During these weeks 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,” she said.

She said that her contract, which was for a period of one year, was abruptly terminated after a period of just four  months and, after the termination, she did not think there was any point in contesting it. “I also felt very relieved that I would not have to face Pachauri’s sexual harassment any longer. I left New Delhi a few weeks after this and returned to Europe,” she said.

Amid mounting outrage over Pachauri’s conduct following allegations of sexual harassment by a TERI woman employee, in connection with which he is facing a court case, another former employee of the think tank had in February made similar accusations against him.

Pachauri quit as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change after the case was registered against him.

There is “sufficient evidence” against Pachauri that he sexually harassed, stalked and threatened his former woman colleague, the Delhi Police had said in its chargesheet filed before a court early this month.

Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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