The former executive vice chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Rajendra Pachauri, was accused in a case of sexual harassment against a woman colleague in February 2015. The woman alleged that Pachauri started making sexual advances towards her when she joined TERI in 2013, and has submitted WhatsApp messages and emails that he sent to her as evidence (more on this later).
In April 2016, a few months after the chargesheet was filed against him in this case, Pachauri filed a civil defamation suit against Vrinda Grover for allegedly making defamatory statements against him to the media. Earlier this week, on the 5th of August, Pachauri recorded his statement in this case before a city court, where he said that that his “best friends and supporters have moved away” from him due to the allegations made by Grover. He also cried that “[he] used to receive at least two-three invitations to address gatherings and prestigious organisations all over the world provided large revenue inflows… After this action by the defendants, revenue has dried up and caused [him] enormous harm.” He was also unable to turn up in court on Saturday, as he claimed media channels had surrounded his house.
Now, we’re forced to take a mild detour here. On February 26, Pachauri had secured an order from a city court making it mandatory that the media houses publish the coverage of the sexual harassment case against him with a disclaimer that says, “in any court the allegations have not been proved and they may not be correct”. Because he’s really into subtlety, the order he sought also said that “when such information is published in any page of a magazine or report, then it should be in middle of the page in bold letters and it should be five times larger than the font in which the article is being published.” So:
In any court the allegations have not been proved and they may not be correct.
Let’s take a minute to marvel at the things powerful men are able to do for themselves, and then get to it. The harassment allegations against Pachauri rest primarily on evidence that the survivor has provided in the form of emails and text messages. The Times of India reports that the Delhi police chargesheet against Pachauri says that he wrote six love poems to the survivor, and oh, what love poems they are. According to the Times of India report he badgers the woman incessantly with his declarations of love, referring to her a “classical Indian beauty”, repeatedly calling her cold for not returning his feelings, and also making alarming declarations like, “Yet in this poor man’s heart love for her incessantly grows. But she loves me not, a ship I am that she passes by, nothing to me she owes! She’s so cold! Unrequited stays my love and arms empty and bare!”. One of his emails talks about all the other women who are interested in him, whom he doesn’t engage with because he isn’t promiscuous, while in another, he makes himself sound like a hero for once grabbing her and touching her breast but not fondling it.
I guess on reading the emails and messages, Pachauri’s panic and insistence on media houses using an aesthetically displeasing disclaimer becomes a bit clearer. I mean who would want to be known as the dude who tried to romance a colleague by calling her “Dearest Meri Jaan” and insisting that he’s a nice guy because he didn’t fondle the breast he grabbed?