NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The former chair of a U.N. panel of climate scientists, Rajendra K. Pachauri, was charged on Tuesday with stalking, intimidating and sexually harassing a woman who worked at a think-tank he headed for more than 30 years, police said.
Pachauri, 75, was accused in February last year of sexual harassment by a researcher working at Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) where Pachauri was director general.
Pachauri, who quit as the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a year ago, denies the charges.
After a year-long investigation into the allegations, which has been closely followed by the Indian media, police said they had sufficient evidence to file charges.
"A chargesheet was filed today in the Metropolitan Magistrate court of Shivani Chauhan in Saket," said a senior Delhi police official connected to the investigation.
"Dr Pachauri has been charged with various misconduct and offences," the official, who declined to be named, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The official said the charges included stalking, sexual harassment, "outraging the modesty of a woman" and criminal intimidation.
The most serious charges - sexual harassment and stalking - carry a maximum jail term of three years under Indian law.
The chargesheet ran to more than 1,000 pages and referred to SMS, Whatsapp and email correspondence between Pachauri and the researcher, who was 29 at the time the complaint was filed.
The chargesheet also included the testimonies of 25 witnesses, many of them past or present employees at TERI, the police official added.
Pachauri's lawyer Ramesh Gupta said his client was being vilified. He said Pachauri could not be arrested because he had been granted anticipatory bail by a court which means police cannot take him into custody for now.
The court will convene on April 23 to decide whether to extend the anticipatory bail or withdraw it, Gupta said.
"My client is innocent in the case. He has not committed any offence. I have not seen the chargesheet. As soon as I will see it, I will decide the next course of action," Gupta told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The woman claims Pachauri began harassing her via email, Whatsapp and text messaging soon after she joined the non-profit thinktank in September 2013. She said Pachauri persisted despite her requests that he stop.
An internal inquiry committee of TERI found Pachauri guilty of misconduct and the organisation has removed him as director general. Last month however he was appointed as the thinktank's executive vice-chairman. The victim has resigned from TERI.
Pachauri, who quit IPCC over the allegation, has accused the complainant of using the media to sensationalise the case.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 on behalf of the IPCC for its scientific assessment of the risks and causes of climate change and was jointly awarded with former U.S. vice-president and environmental campaigner, Al Gore.
(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty. Writing by Nita Bhalla; Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)
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Published Date: Mar 01, 2016 10:09 pm | Updated Date: Mar 01, 2016 10:09 pm