Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Texts and e-mails allegedly sent by IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri tell a disturbing tale. Months after a female subordinate objected repeatedly and strenuously to his sexual advances, the UN official continued to physically and electronically stalk her.
Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is on the front page of India’s Mail Today newspaper. The above-the-fold headline proclaims: Green Pachauri Battles Slur. This suggests that the sex allegations leveled against the UN official by a 29-year-old female subordinate are untrue.
But the full-page story that follows paints a different picture. For example, there’s the garishly-coloured sidebar titled Messy Messages. It highlights missives allegedly written by Pachauri that now appear in the woman’s 33-page police complaint.
This woman reportedly began her employment at Pachauri’s TERI institute on September 1st, 2013. The Mail Today article reveals that, a mere seven days later, Pachauri was sending her text messages well after office hours, at 9:22 pm in the evening.
By September 8th, she’d apparently made her distaste for his advances so clear that Pachauri was assuring her:
I shall try to suppress my human feelings, and live with a sad restraint on my words and actions. Never to make you uncomfortable or stressed on my account…
Nine days later, he reiterated: “I never want to make you uncomfortable even if it requires curbing my own instincts.”
But 74-year-old Pachauri isn’t someone who finds it easy to restrain himself, apparently. By October 1st, the complainant was insisting that she “deserve[d] the right to say that you kindly shouldn’t…hold me close or kiss me.
By this time, she’d already told Pachauri – the most senior boss where she worked – that his behaviour made her feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, hurt, demoralized, and violated. But he refused to take the hint. Even though it was past ten in the evening, he sent her a series of cringe-worthy replies (bold added by me):
10:12 pm: And just to prove to you how much I love you, I shall go on a fast after the cricket match tomorrow. I will break the fast only when you believe I love you with sincerity and unfathomable depth.
10:21 pm: All right we have our respective perceptions which differ, and we can live with them and also let live. Perhaps some day you would know how sweet and sublime my feelings for you are! I shall not call off my fast till you fully believe that sacred truth.
10:28 pm: All right! I’ve got the message. I wish you would see the difference between something tender and loving and something crass and vulgar. You obviously don’t! So I shall slink away and withdraw! Farewell my sweet [the complainant’s name]. But I insist on the fast just to hear you say that you believe I really love you L.
10:35 pm: Besides I want to punish myself for alienating you!
10:36 pm: And losing the most wonderful girl I’ve ever met L
Nor did Pachauri regain his senses the next day. Just before five the following afternoon he was again claiming to love her “in the most sublime, wholesome and genuine way.” This was followed by another empty statement about “never” doing anything that she didn’t “consider supremely beautiful!”
A little more than a week later, in an e-mail dated October 10th, Pachauri said he was haunted by the thought that she couldn’t tell the difference between molestation and his attentions. In his words, he loved her “in soul, mind and heart.”
That e-mail, if genuine, contains an important detail. In it, Pachauri refers to remarks the woman made “the last time that I ‘grabbed’ your ‘body'” (italics added). Rather than denying that he has ever groped her, the chairman of the IPCC appears to be agreeing with the complainant that he has behaved in such a manner on more than one occasion.
In mid-October, while Pachauri was attending a five-day IPCC meeting in Batumi, Georgia, he tried to impress her:
Here I am sitting and chairing an IPCC meeting and surreptitiously sending you messages. I hope that tells you of my feelings for you
An e-mail dated November 14th is fullblown creepy. In it, he appears to berate her for feeling insufficiently grateful for the job he suggests he helped secure for her. This is followed by the outrageous whine that she’s ignoring his views about whether or not she goes to the gym:
You came to me at the loss of your earlier job as a measure of desperation…In the context of your injury, what faith have you shown in me? You have been going to the gym against my explicit advise…[sic] Even you must know that even if I don’t marry you, I am yours for life. [bold added; ellipsis in Mail Today story]
The Messy Messages sidebar refers, at the end, to two Pachauri messages allegedly sent a year ago, in January 2014. One was titled Contempt and Pity. The other referred to the complainant as “My Classical Indian Beauty.”
The texts and emails quoted by the Mail Today tell a disturbing tale. Months after a female subordinate 40 years his junior objected repeatedly and strenuously to his sexual advances, the head of a UN body continued to physically and electronically stalk her.
Apparently at her wits end, the woman engaged a lawyer and filed a 33-page statement with police eight days ago. Pachauri denies her allegations. Presumably that means he denies the woman’s view that he has a “perverted mind” and an “obsession towards me.”
In a court document, Pachauri’s lawyers say he “is being targeted by various vested interests” and that he is the victim of a “conspiracy which is aimed to destroy” his reputation. Attempts by said lawyers to prevent the media from reporting on this matter were only temporarily successful.
In an e-mail to India’s Economic Times newspaper earlier this week, Pachauri said he has been hacked. The texts and e-mails, he says, are the work of “unknown cyber criminals.” They are, he says, “completely false, fabricated, forged and manipulated.”
If that is true, a hacker has been in control of Pachauri’s computers and mobile phone for more than 17 months – during which time the IPCC’s latest climate change report was finalized and released.
Donna Laframboise is a Canadian investigative journalist and author of the 2013 book, Into the Dustbin: Rajendra Pachauri, the Climate Report & the Nobel Peace Prize. See Amazon.com, Amazon India, and other Amazon stores.