Amid outrage over his appointment as TERI's Executive Vice Chairman, R K Pachauri on Thursday proceeded on leave and will skip TERI University's convocation on March 7, even as the green body said in his new role the environmentalist will ensure a "smooth transition" in the organisation.
Despite battling allegations of multiple sexual harassment, Pachauri, the Director General of TERI and Vice Chancellor of TERI University, was recently elevated to the newly created post of Executive Vice Chairman, a move which triggered severe criticism from the alumni and women activists across the country.
Pachauri's decision to proceed on leave came after a group of students refused to receive degrees from him.
"Yes, he is on leave. I can confirm this as his position as Chancellor of the TERI University. As Chancellor, he is on leave. He communicated this today.
"The convocation is on March 7. He (Pachauri) would not be attending it," Rajiv Seth, acting VC of TERI varsity told PTI.
Some alumni of 2013-2015 batch, had on Wednesday written to Seth saying the recent "inaction" of the board of management at TERI University with respect to Pachauri "deeply saddened" them.
Amid the outrage over Pachauri's elevation and apprehension about his weilding greater powers in his new position, The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) said, "The Governing Council has appointed Ajay Mathur as DG with full executive powers to run the organisation. Dr RK Pachauri's role is to ensure a smooth transition to the new DG.
"The Governing Council is meeting again tomorrow and will issue a detailed statement on the roles, responsibilities and leadership at TERI. Till then we urge you to avoid any speculation on the matter," a TERI spokesperson said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has issued notice to a top official of TERI asking him to join interrogation in connection with the sexual harassment case over.
The notice was issued to Senior Director of TERI Alok Adholeya, who is currently in the US, asking him to join interrogation as soon as he returns, a police source said.
Similar notices were also issued to TERI Director Sanjai Joshi and area convenor Reena Singh, who are facing allegations of approaching the victim's friend to convince her for an out-of-court settlement of the matter, the source said.
Delhi Police also informed a High Court bench on Thursday that it will file the charge sheet in the case within 15 days and the draft report has already been sent to prosecution branch.
In its station report submitted to the bench, police said that Joshi conceded during interrogation that he has indeed talked to victim's friend but maintained that he was never asked by Pachauri to do so.
The status report also said that TERI's area convener Reena Singh was interrogated in her office and she had stated that she had never spoken about any settlement with the victim's friend.
A senior official said that Delhi Police is yet to receive a complaint from the former TERI employee who came out in public making similar allegations against Pachauri on Wednesday.
The woman, towards whom Pachauri had allegedly made sexual advances more than 10 years ago, also slammed TERI for appointing him to a higher position.
Giving details of the case, her lawyer Vrinda Grover had said that they had first reported the complaint in February last year with police which did not do anything till date forcing her to come out in public with the charges.
"Pachauri would use the excuse of work assignments to repeatedly call me to his office room, even though there was no real work that he needed to discuss. This made me feel very uncomfortable and I used to try to dodge some meetings or ask my colleagues to go for the meetings," she told a TV channel.