The United Nations' top climate change official will not chair a key meeting in Kenya next week as Indian police investigate a sexual harassment complaint against him, officials said Sunday.
Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), pulled out due to "issues demanding his attention", the UN body said.
His cancellation comes after Delhi police said Pachauri, 74, was accused of sexually harassing a 29-year-old female researcher from his Delhi-based thinktank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
"A lady had lodged an FIR (first information report) against him (Pachauri) for sexual harassment... about a week ago and the matter is under investigation now," Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP.
The female employee has accused Pachauri of repeated inappropriate behaviour, including through emails, text and WhatsApp messages, according to police.
Pachauri has denied all charges, saying his emails and mobile phone were hacked. Another police official said that Pachauri will "most likely appeal for anticipatory bail tomorrow at a lower court", after the Delhi High Court last week granted him "interim protection" from arrest until Monday.
"He needs to be in Delhi to seek bail," the police official told AFP on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media. Pachauri's office did not immediately respond to AFP's calls for comment.
The IPCC said that Pachauri had informed them "that he will be unable to chair the plenary session of the IPCC in Nairobi next week because of issues demanding his attention in India", in a statement late Saturday.
The case comes at a crucial time as Pachauri tries to set the table for a key climate change summit in Paris in December where world leaders are expected to broker a global treaty on tackling global warming.
The veteran climate change expert took the helm of the IPCC in 2002 and was elected to a second term in 2008. Pachauri has previously been in the limelight over incorrect global warming data and for authoring a racy novel which dished up sex, reincarnation and a real-life Hollywood actress.