New Delhi: Troubles in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) continue. Ajay Mathur, who replaced Rajendra K Pachauri as director-general (DG) of TERI, has reportedly expressed his displeasure and raised concerns over “independent functioning” after the institute’s governing council (GC) appointed Pachauri as executive vicechairman of GC.
GC is also considering a proposal on giving Pachauri operational powers. This proposal, ET has learnt, came from one of GC’s foreign members. Mathur, people familiar with his thinking said, may even have a rethink about joining Teri. He’s sent two emails to GC arguing the D-G’s job must entail complete and full control.
ET spoke to Mathur, to Deepak Parekh, who’s a member of GC, and a number of people familiar with the matter who did not wish to be identified. Pachauri did not respond to ET’s questions. ET had first reported on February 18 that a Teri employee had lodged a police complaint against Pachauri alleging sexual harassment. Police investigations are continuing. ET had also reported on November 4 that the complainant have resigned from Teri, and she had communicated to Teri that she was “mistreated in the worst possible manner”.
Pachauri was replaced by Mathur on July 23. Mathur, director of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, had to mandatorily serve a threemonth cooling off period before joining Teri. That was to happen on October 21.
However, people familiar with deliberations in Teri told ET, on October 5, Mathur received a message asking him to connect telephonically with GC members who were holding a meeting in Bengaluru.
In this conference call, Mathur was asked if he was comfortable with Pachauri being appointed as vice-chairman of GC. Mathur, people privy to this discussion said, conveyed his extreme apprehension to GC.
“If we add fuel to fire, Teri will get burnt down,” Mathur is learnt to have said during that discussion.
ET has learnt that GC decided last week to appoint Pachauri as executive vice-chairman of the body. Mathur told ET, “the GC decision has been conveyed to me”. He also said he has communicated to GC that “the primacy of the director-general should prevail to ensure independent and fair functioning of the organization”.
In Mathur’s October 4 email to GC, he had said, “I write this email following a discussion with Dr Pachauri this morning.” He further wrote: “As I look ahead and plan my joining, I would like clarity about the transition. I had interacted with you over video, the duration of the overlap and the Council to provide clarity on this issue; this is important for Teri, as well as me…” Parekh, speaking to ET, confirmed that GC has appointed Pachauri as executive vice-chairman and also that a proposal to give Pachauri operational powers was under consideration. Parekh said for “all practical purposes” Mathur will be the “CEO of Teri”.
He added that Pachauri’s “assistance is required for overseas contracts and other projects funded by foreign countries”.
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