Pachauri Flexes Muscles Again as TERI Forms New Complaints Panel

TERI forms new complaints panel after the head of the panel which found RK Pachauri guilty of sexual abuse resigns.

Published
India
2 min read
The TERI panel which upheld sexual harassment charges against RK Pachauri has been reconstituted following the resignation of its head, Ranjana Saikia. (Photo: Reuters)

It looks to be a clear case of conflict of interest. TERI has freshly constituted its Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), just a few weeks after RK Pachauri, its Director General accused of sexual harassment, was allowed to return to work.

The immediate and official reason for the formation of the new committee is the resignation of Ranjana Saikia, the Presiding Officer and Chairperson of the previous committee who upheld the charges of sexual harassment, stalking and criminal intimidation against Pachauri. Saikia resigned on Monday.

(Read: Pachauri harassment survivor’s ordeal)

Following Saikia’s exit, the entire committee was reconstituted. An email (below) by the head of human resources of TERI, Dinesh Varma said this has been done as per the directive of the ‘competent authority’.

It has been decided to reconstitute the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of TERI IHC with the following members:
D. Vibha Dhawan – Presiding Officer
Ms Mili Majumdar – Member
Dr Ibrahim H Rehman – Member
Dr Suneel Pandey – Member
Ms Vagisha Kochar (Adv.) – Member.
The issuance of this circular is as per the directive of the competent authority, and the reconstituted ICC is effective from today.
— Email from TERI HR dated September 16, 2015

Speaking to The Quint, Dinesh Varma said:

The presiding officer chose to relinquish her position, there was no pressure on her. It is obvious that once she left, the entire team would be reconstituted. The new members have all been picked on the basis of seniority and diversity of roles within TERI.
— Dinesh Varma, Director HR, TERI

While Varma insists that the committee was reconstituted as per the rules and regulations of TERI, he seemed to deny any knowledge of the ICC’s incriminating findings against the TERI top boss. TERI insiders say that Saikia took long leave in July when Pachauri resumed office again.

The findings of the ICC (that held Pachauri guilty) have been submitted to the highest authorities and the governing council members. It is not within the purview of Human Resources. As per TERI rules, the ICC report was never made public to TERI employees.
—Dinesh Varma, Director HR, TERI to The Quint

Sources within TERI say Mili Majumdar, one of the new members of the reconstituted ICC, is known to be close to Pachauri. She even reprimanded employees who wore black to register their protest when Pachauri resumed office.

The Quint had earlier reported how Pachauri got permission from the courts to travel abroad on business. It appears that despite the sexual harassment survivor’s letter to the Prime Minister seeking help and intervention, Pachauri is still unfettered.

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