Ex-UN climate chief faces trial in India for sexual offenses

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An Indian court has ruled there is enough evidence to send former UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri to trial on charges of stalking and sexual harassment in a case filed by a former female colleague in New Delhi.

Ashish Dixit, a lawyer who represented Pachauri before the magistrate on Friday, said there was no case against Pachauri and he will fight the charges during the trial, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Magistrate Charu Gupta set October 20 for pretrial proceedings.

Police registered the case against Pachauri after the 29-year-old female colleague accused him three years ago of sexual harassment, stalking and criminal intimidation.

“Chuffed to bits. This has not been easy,” the woman told reporters after Friday’s court session. “This is a big leap towards the truth. I am relieved, and exhausted fighting Pachauri.”

Pachauri worked with the woman at The Energy and Resources Institute, or TERI, a New Delhi environmental think tank he had headed for more than three decades.

He has denied the allegations, but resigned from both the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and TERI after the woman’s accusations were made public.

If convicted, Pachauri faces a prison sentence of two years.

Apart from the police investigation, TERI’s internal complaints committee examined the evidence presented by the woman, questioned some other employees and concluded that the allegations of sexual harassment were valid.

Pachauri had chaired the UN climate panel - considered the world’s authority on climate science - and accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on its behalf. The panel shared the award with former US Vice President Al Gore.

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