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The Observer’s Piece On Pachauri Is Just One Side Of The Story

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Vishakh Unnikrishnan, Catch News India

The Observer article presents a case which suggests that Pachauri could have been falsely accused in the case. What should be noted is, just like climate change, sexual harassment at workplace is not a myth.

On Sunday, The Observer, a sister weekly of The Guardian, published an article that offers a sympathetic portrayal of R.K. Pachauri, former director of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and someone accused of sexually harassing a female colleague. The publication quotes Dr. R.K. Pachauri in a series of email exchanges. It involves a meeting with the ex-director of TERI, where Pachauri alleges that his email account was hacked, the accuser was “acting for money,” and that the entire episode was a set-up to trap him by “persons unkown.”

Pauchari suspects that those people resenting his work against climate change are the ones who have have orchestrated the incident to ‘destroy’ him. Back in February of 2015, Pachauri faced charges of sexually harassing a female colleague. He has been the director general of TERI for more than 3 decades.

The Observer article

Pachauri informed The Observer that after being elected to lead the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2002, the IPCC has been “vilified by climate sceptics and rightwing free-market think-tanks, often known to have been funded by powerful fossil-fuel interests,” and that they could be behind the filing a sexual harassment case against him.

Here’s what The Observer had to say:

  • Pauchari informed The Observer that he “suspects strongly, but cannot prove, that there has been a coordinated attempt to destroy him professionally and personally and that money may also be involved.”
  • Excerpts from alleged conversations between the complainant and the accused were also published.
  • As the publications puts it, “Pachauri was enamoured by the women.”
  • Emails allegedly sent by the complainant to Pauchari were also published.
  • It suggested that the complainant was flirting with him

The contentions and allegations raised by Pachauri through his emails to The Observer were then replied to by the complainant’s lawyer. The complainant herself also spoke to Catch, after being disappointed with the published article.

The complainant in the case informed Catch that “the responses sent by my lawyer do not appear in the article published today, for reasons not known to me or my legal team”.

Pachauri’s allegations

The following summarises the allegations put forth by Pachauri through emails to The Guardian and the replies to those allegations by the complainant’s lawyer and the complainant to Catch.

1. Pachauri alleges that the accuser had access to all his email accounts, and to his electronic files which included personal correspondence and many poems that he had written over the years. He states that “the complainant was creating and assembling an archive of images, for a period of 16 months”.

Pachauri further informs The Observer, “The poems I have written and saved electronically all have some names or the other, particularly in the case of romantic poems, and these can be easily altered by replacing the name that is mentioned with anybody else’s name”.

On the allegation, the complainant tells Catch, “If the Guardian, as told by my lawyers, claim to have seen emails showing hacking, why aren’t these documents before the court?”