Former TERI chief and Environmentalist, RK Pachauri dies at 79

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.

“His courageous leadership allowed climate change to be recognised world over as the most pressing issue confronting the world and launched a new era of international deliberations and actions,” said his family.

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.