RK Pachauri, ex-TERI chief dogged by sexual harassment charges, passes away after prolonged heart disease at 79

  • RK Pachauri, former chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), passed away on Thursday after prolonged heart disease.

  • The 79-year-old was put on life support at the Escorts Heart Institute in Delhi on Wednesday.

  • The environmentalist had suffered a heart stroke in Mexico in July 2019

RK Pachauri, former chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), passed away on Thursday after prolonged heart disease. The 79-year-old was put on life support at the Escorts Heart Institute in Delhi on Wednesday.

TERI director general Ajay Mathur confirmed his death to PTI on Thursday. The report also said that Pachauri had undergone an open heart surgery at the hospital earlier.

In a statement, his family said Pachauri underwent a major heart surgery before succumbing to his deteriorating health on Thursday. He was admitted to Escorts Heart Institute on Tuesday.

Pachauri passed away at his residence in the national capital with wife, daughter and son by his side.

The environmentalist had suffered a heart stroke in Mexico in July 2019. "He was suffering from cardiac issues. He had an open heart surgery but was put on ventilator," sources were quoted by PTI as saying.

Family, TERI pay tributes

"His courageous leadership allowed climate change to be recognized world over as the most pressing issue confronting the world and launched a new era of international deliberations and actions," said his family.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) expressed grief over the passing away of its founding director.

"It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing away of RK Pachauri, the founder Director of TERI. The entire TERI family stands with the family of Dr Pachauri in this hour of grief," TERI Director General Ajay Mathur said in the statement. "TERI is what it is because of Dr Pachauri's untiring perseverance. He played a pivotal role in growing this institution, and making it a premier global organisation in the sustainability space," said Mathur, who succeeded Pachauri at TERI in 2015.

 

Pachauri won the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008, the third and second highest civilian awards of the country. In the statement issued by TERI on Thursday, its Chairman Nitin Desai hailed Pachauri's contribution to global sustainable development as "unparalleled".

"His leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) laid the ground for climate change conversations today," Desai said.

Pachauri was born on 20 August, 1940 in Nainital, Uttarakhand, and studied at La Martiniere College in Lucknow and at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Jamalpur, Bihar.

Sexual harassment allegations

Pachauri had to step down from his position in TERI after he was accused of sexually harassing a former woman colleague. A district court had in October 2018 framed molestation charges against him. However, Pachauri had repeatedly denied the allegations levelled against him.

During the court hearings, Pachauri had sought a speedy trial saying he and his family were suffering from hardship since 2015, when an FIR was lodged in the matter. After the FIR was registered in February 2015, Pachauri was given anticipatory bail the following month.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 14, 2020 08:01:36 IST