Former TERI chief RK Pachauri died after a prolonged battle against heart illness at the Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi today, a day after he was put on life support.
The 79-year-old environmentalist had earlier undergone an open heart surgery at the same hospital after suffering a stroke in Mexico last July.
TERI, short for New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute, expressed “immense sadness” over Dr Pachauri’s death. “The entire TERI family stands with the family of Dr Pachauri in this hour of grief,” it said in a release issued soon after his death was reported.
“TERI is what it is because of Dr Pachauri’s untiring perseverance. He played a pivotal role in growing this institution, and making it a premier global organisation in the sustainability space,” said Dr Ajay Mathur, who succeeded Dr Pachauri as the TERI Director General in 2015.
Nitin Desai, chairman of TERI, described Dr Pachauri’s contribution to global sustainable development as “unparalleled”. “His leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change laid the ground for climate change conversations today,” he said.
However, the world-renowned environmentalist’s excellence in his field was overshadowed by a sexual harassment scandal involving a former woman colleague that culminated in his resignation from the prestigious institute in 2015. A Delhi court framed molestation charges against him in October 2018.
Dr Pachauri has consistently defended his innocence in the matter.
Former Teri chief RK Pachauri, who was admitted to the Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi with a prolonged cardiac ailment, was put on life support on Tuesday.
Pachauri (79) underwent an open heart surgery at the hospital, they said.
The environmentalist had suffered a heart stroke in Mexico in July last year, said a source close to him, adding that he was critical and put on ventilator.
“He was suffering from cardiac issues. He had an open heart surgery but was put on ventilator,” the sources said.
Pachauri had to step down from his position in The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) after he was accused of sexually harassing a former woman colleague.
A district court had in October 2018 framed molestation charges against Pachauri, who had repeatedly denied the allegations levelled against him.
During the court 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 registered in February 2015, Pachauri was given anticipatory bail the next month.