Facing flak, TERI's executive vice chairman R K Pachauri today proceeded on leave from two other bodies — TERI and its governing council, which also appointed former Competition Commission chief Ashok Chawla as the new chairman in an apparent damage control measure.
In its meeting, the council decided that Pachauri will be on leave from TERI, its governing council and the university till further review by it, given the sub judice nature of the matter. “The Council welcomed former Competition Commission chief Ashok Chawla as its new Chairman. The Council looks forward to his leadership of this important institute.
“The Council also inducted the new Director General, Ajay Mathur as a Member of the Council who will operate with full executive powers," TERI said in a statement after its governing council met.
The council met to discuss “key issues" relating to the functioning of the organisation. When asked whether Pachauri was forced to go on leave or he took the decision voluntarily, TERI declined to comment on it only saying, “Our version has been made clear in our statement. There is no connotation to it."
Chawla, who was also the former finance secretary, was appointed the new chairman after B V Sreekantan resigned recently after being a Member of the Council for over 40 years. TERI had yesterday said that Pachauri's role is to ensure a “smooth transition" for Mathur. Amid outrage over his appointment as TERI's Executive Vice Chairman, Pachauri has proceeded on leave yesterday from TERI University and communicated that he will skip the institution's convocation on March 7 after a group of students refused to receive degrees from him.
Facing the heat due to multiple sexual harassment charges, Pachauri, the Chancellor of the University was recently elevated to the newly-created post, a move which triggered severe criticism from the alumni and women activists across the country. “R K Pachauri, who had been at the head of the institute since 1982 will be on leave from TERI, TERI Governing Council, and TERI University till this is reviewed by the Governing Council given the sub judice nature of the matter," TERI said in the statement.