Former UN climate panel chief removed from Delhi institute

NEW DELHI: The former chairman of the UN climate panel has been removed from his job as head of a top energy institute in India following allegations of sexual harassment.

The governing council of The Energy and Resources Institute announced late Thursday that Rajendra Pachauri would be replaced by Arun Mathur, an energy efficiency expert.

Although no reasons were given for Pachauri's replacement, the council said the decision was taken keeping in view interests of the private institute and its 1,200 employees working in different parts of the world.

Pachauri, 75, resigned from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February, after a 29-year-old woman accused him of stalking and sexually harassing her while they worked together at the institute. He denies the allegations.

No formal charges have been filed yet, but a court in February had prohibited him from entering or contacting anyone at the institute.

Pachauri's removal follows protests after a Delhi court last week allowed him to return to work at the institute. In the past couple of years, India has seen a wave of public anger and protest over a socially conservative nation's chronic problem with sexual harassment and violence against women.

Pachauri has chaired the climate panel since 2002, and had accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on its behalf.

The panel had shared the award with Al Gore, a former US vice president and environmental campaigner.