India, New Delhi: A 75 year old former UN climate change chief, Rajendra Pachauri, has been charged with sexual assault and harassment following accusations he sent inappropriate texts and emails to a female colleague. Pachauri, the ex head of the UN climate change panel, was the subject of a complaint by an ex-colleague at an environmental think-tank.
Indian police today brought the charges against him in a Delhi trial court, more than a year after the woman in her late twenties filed her original complaint. Virender Dalal, the investigating officer, said: ‘We have filed the charge sheet today and the court will decide when to begin the hearing’. Police have charged Pachauri, with four counts including sexual assault, harassment and criminal intimidation, according to the complainant’s lawyer
Lawyer Prashant Mendiratta said, ‘Police have filed the nearly 1400-page charge sheet in the trial court’. He added, ‘We will need time to examine the entire document but it states that they have found prima facie evidence’. Pachauri, who is on bail, denies the sexual harassment charges and has said his emails and mobile phone were hacked. His lawyer Ashish Dixit said his client would defend the charges and stressed the case still had a long way to go.
Mr Dixit said ‘Obviously he is maintaining his innocence and the charge sheet does not make any difference because he has not given his side of the story. He added, ‘The charge sheet is based on the complainant’s statements. Arguments have not been heard from the other side’. 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 in February 2015 after his colleague at the think-tank filed her complaint.