Researcher quits after sex claims against ex-UN climate chief

Rajendra Pachauri, pictured on November 5, 2014, was forced to quit as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February 2015 after his colleague filed a sexual harassment complaint (AFP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard) (AFP/File)

A researcher who accused former UN climate panel chief Rajendra Pachauri of sexual harassment has quit her job at the think-tank he formerly headed, alleging it treated her "in the worst possible manner", her lawyer said Wednesday.

The 29-year-old woman in February accused Pachauri, 75, of repeated sexual harassment soon after she joined The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) based in the Indian capital.

"The way her case was dealt (with) by TERI was extremely hurtful and she felt harassed and was compelled to quit," lawyer Prashant Mendiratta told AFP.

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 after his colleague filed her complaint.

Pachauri was also ousted from his post as head of TERI in July after a backlash over his return to work while facing the allegations.

The researcher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, accused him of constantly harassing her through inappropriate emails, text and WhatsApp messages.

In her resignation letter, she accused TERI of failing to uphold "my interests as an employee" while at the same time protecting Pachauri, despite the think-tank's own internal inquiry finding him guilty of misconduct.

"Your organisation has treated me in the worst possible manner," she wrote, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

"You also created a hostile environment for me which has only escalated and showed no signs of subsiding whatsoever," she added.

Mendiratta said the organisation changed her job profile and posted her to a new office, while holding back her salary for several months.

TERI rejected the allegations as "completely false and baseless", saying it had been fair and neutral throughout the matter.

"The organisation has till date accorded special privileges to the complainant and acceded to all her demands," it said in a statement.

Pachauri has denied the allegations against him and said his email and mobile phone were hacked.

No formal charges have so far been brought against him although a Delhi police investigation is continuing.