NEW DELHI: R K Pachauri, who is facing sexual harassment charges, on Friday proceeded on leave from TERI and TERI Governing Council, but will continue to be research the institution’s executive vice chairman, even as B V Sreekantan resigned as Chairman amidst ongoing protests over Pachauri’s elevation.
The decision was announced after the Governing Council meeting on Friday following criticism over appointment of Pachauri as executive vice chairman early this week.
The council also appointed Ashok Chawla, former Finance Secretary to the Government of India and former chairman of the Competition Commission as its new chairman. Chawla on Friday said an external ombudsman would be put in place at the institution to address complaints of staff members unhappy with internal processes. Sreekantan, who resigned as the chairman of the council on Friday, had been its member for over 40 years. There was no reason given for his resignation. The council also inducted the new Director General Ajay Mathur as a member of the council who would operate with full executive powers.
“The process for the replacement of Dr Pachauri as Director General of TERI culminated in the appointment of Dr Ajay Mathur as Director General with full executive powers on July 23, 2015. However, as Dr. Mathur was able to join only on February 8, 2016 after he was finally relieved by the Government of India, the Governing Council effected various interim arrangements so as not to destabilize the operations of the Institute,” said the statement.
With two incidents of sexual harassment cases against Pachauri coming in the light, the council went into a damage control mode and said that they support the rights of women and has consistently ensured the provision of a secure environment and a safe work place for its employees.