New Delhi: Demanding RK Pachauri's resignation from TERI, lawyers and civil society activists on Wednesday questioned why he has not been suspended and raised suspicion that some material evidence were "being deleted" from the institute's computers and servers.
In two separate letters to TERI's governing council, senior lawyers Indira Jaising and activist Vrinda Grover among others questioned how Pachauri was allowed to have the "extraordinary benefit" of going on leave saying it adds "insult to injury".
"The complaint of sexual harassment, stalking and other offences against Pachauri is currently under police investigation. In this investigation, emails and other communication available in the TERI server, computers and related IT services, forms material evidence.
"There is a suspicion that communication having a direct bearing on this complaint and other relevant communications relating to Pachauri are being deleted, so as to tamper with and destroy material evidence," the second letter said.
Jaising and others said that no "fair" inquiry can be held while Pachauri is still the DG of the organisation and given his seniority, all members of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) would be junior to him thus "exaggerating an already existing imbalance of power".
"The question that we wish to raise with you is that why have you not considered it appropriate to suspend RK Pachauri from his position as Director General of the institution pending the enquiry," they said.
Apart from Jaising and Grover, others signatories were former Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed, secretary of All India Progressive Women's Association Kavita Krishnan, Jagori Director Suneeta Dhar, senior journalist Pamela Philipose, PUCL national secretary Kavita Srivastava and JNU professor Nivedita Menon.
"We request you to take all necessary steps for as the Governing Council, you have a responsibility towards ensuring that all evidence in the control and custody of TERI is safeguarded and made available to the police for purposes of investigation, and the process of investigation is not in any way obstructed," the letter said.
Buffeted by allegations of sexual harassment, Pachauri had yesterday quit as Chairman of UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose meeting he was prevented from attending.
TERI, a research institute focusing on energy, environment and sustainable development, had also announced that Pachauri has proceeded on leave "for the time being" but disclosed no reasons for doing so.