Keeping up appearances: #PachauriHatgaya but TERI council not being tough enough

New Delhi: The governing council of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) on Friday asked executive vice chairman RK Pachauri to go on indefinite leave, reports NDTV. Ashok Chawla, former Competition Commission of India chief has been nominated to take over Pachauri's post.

Former director general of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) Ajay Mathur was on late Thursday night appointed as the new TERI-DG. A press release issued by TERI said, "Dr RK Pachauri, who had been at the head of the institute since 1982 will be on leave from TERI, TERI governing council, and TERI University till this is reviewed by the governing council given the sub-judice nature of the matter." According to DNA, this, however, only means that Pachauri's powers as executive vice-chairman of TERI will remain largely unaffected — Pachauri won't be able to sit in on the meetings of the governing council.

Earlier Ajay Mathur was to take over on 8 February 2016 as the TERI chief. Pachauri, who is embroiled in a second sexual harrassment case now, was removed by the green body last year but was brought back again in the capacity of executive vice chairman.

Keeping up appearances: #PachauriHatgaya but TERI council not being tough enough

RK Pachauri. File photo Reuters

An official statement said the TERI governing council at its meeting held in Bengaluru on Thursday took the decision to appoint Mathur as the new director general.

"Mathur will take up his new responsibilities as soon as he is in a position to do so, subsequent to being relieved from his current responsibilities by the government after a brief period of transition," the statement said.

According to TERI, the issue of succession to the current leadership was first discussed in detail by the general council in its meeting held in Mumbai in September, 2014.

Subsequently a well-known search firm was entrusted with the task of carrying out a search of candidates for the position.

"The decision to appoint Ajay Mathur is the culmination of an extensive search process and an intensive evaluation of candidates from across the globe," TERI said.

"We hope the GC is certain that the 1,200 people working for TERI in different parts of the world would welcome this development," it added.

Mathur holds a PhD and a Master of Science from the University of Illinois and completed his bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Roorkee.

He began his career at TERI in 1986 and rose to the position of dean, Energy and Environment Engineering, from 1995 to 2000. Mathur later worked with the World Bank, Green Climate Fund, before taking over as the director general of the BEE.

Pachauri was granted anticipatory bail on 21 March but was directed not to enter the TERI offices till investigation is complete. On 17 July, a court allowed the environmentalist to visit the offices, except two establishments in one of which the complainant worked.

After the sexual harassment complaint, Pachauri stepped down as chairperson of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February and proceeded on leave from TERI as its director general.

TERI University students and alumni wrote a letter to the acting vice chancellor on Wednesday, condemning the appointment of Pachauri as executive vice chairman of the organisation. The students also refused to take their degrees at the March convocation, reports Hindustan Times.

According to NDTV, close to 200 students are expected to receive their final degrees at the convocation (to be held on 7 March) of the university. According to the television channel's website, the students wrote in the email that Pachauri's re-appointment was "anti-thetical" to their beliefs and they did not wish to accept degrees from Dr Pachauri.

The Indian Express quotes the students' letter, "We reiterate the trajectory that the university is taking is dangerous and grossly inconsiderate, and as alumni, we sincerely hope that Teri University’s board of management seriously re-evaluates Pachauri’s continuing role as chancellor..."

After the rebel by the students, Pachauri on Thursday went on leave probably forcing the institute to appoint Mathur.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2016 13:32:56 IST