RK Pachauri, Former TERI Chief Dies at 79
NEW DELHI : Environmentalist RK Pachauri, a former TERI chief under whose chairmanship the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, died on Thursday after a prolonged cardiac ailment. He was 79.
Pachauri had been admitted to the Escorts Heart Institute in the national capital on Tuesday. In a statement, his family said Pachauri underwent a major heart surgery before succumbing to his deteriorating health at 8 pm on Thursday.Pachauri passed away at his residence in the national capital with wife, daughter and son by his side.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) expressed grief over the passing away of its founding director.“TERI is what it is today because of Dr Pachauri’s untiring perseverance. He played a pivotal role in making us a leading organisation in the sustainability space,” said Mathur who succeeded him in 2015.
In 2015, Pachauri was accused of allegedly sexually harassing a woman colleague after which he had to quit the post at TERI. A district court in October 2018 had framed molestation charges against Pachauri who had repeatedly denied the allegations levelled against him.
During the hearings, Pachauri had sought a speedy trial saying he and his family were suffering from hardship since 2015, when an FIR was lodged in the matter. After the FIR was lodged in February 2015, he was given anticipatory bail the next month.
In October 2007, Pachauri collected the Nobel peace prize as head of the UN’s IPCC, jointly with former US Vice President Al Gore.
\Pachauri won the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008, the third- and second-highest civilian awards of India. The 79-year-old environmentalist had earlier undergone an open heart surgery at the same hospital after suffering a stroke in Mexico last July.
Nitin Desai, chairman of TERI, described Dr Pachauri’s contribution to global sustainable development as “unparalleled”. “His leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change laid the ground for climate change conversations today,” he said.
However, the world-renowned environmentalist’s excellence in his field was overshadowed by a sexual harassment scandal involving a former woman colleague that culminated in his resignation from the prestigious institute in 2015. A Delhi court framed molestation charges against him in October 2018.