Ex-UN climate chief ousted from India think-tank amid sex claims

Ex-UN climate chief ousted from India think-tank amid sex claims
In this photograph taken on November 5, 2014, former Indian head of the UN climate science panel the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri speaks during a climate conference in Paris.
PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI - Former UN climate panel chief Rajendra Pachauri was ousted from his post as head of an Indian think-tank Thursday after a backlash over his return to work while facing allegations of sexual harassment.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) announced that Pachauri, 74, was being replaced as its director general.

The news comes just days after he had won a court order allowing him to return to work while still on bail over claims he pestered a female colleague with inappropriate texts and emails.

While not specifying why Pachauri was being replaced, the organisation said "the interests of TERI and its talented staff are paramount" as it named former World Bank official Ajay Mathur as his successor.

The announcement was made in a statement that also praised Pachauri's work in turning the Delhi-based TERI into "a major, financially autonomous, professionally dynamic organisation on the global stage".

A court had given Pachauri permission last week to return to work at TERI, on condition that he steer clear of his 29-year-old alleged victim.

But Indian media have quoted a number of colleagues expressing their unease at the 74-year-old's return while he has yet to clear his name.

Although no formal charges have so far been brought against him, police have accused Pachauri of obstructing their investigation while the victim's lawyer has alleged that he tried to influence witnesses.

Pachauri, a leading voice on the dangers of global warming, was forced to quit as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February after his colleague filed her complaint.

He has denied the allegations and said his emails and mobile phone were hacked.

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