Former executive vice chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute RK Pachauri has said that the woman who accused him of sexually harassing her had been acting for money and that unknown persons had put her up to the task to trap him. Pachauri added that he strongly suspected, but could not prove, that there was a coordinated attempt to destroy him professionally and personally.

In a series of email exchanges with The Observer, the Nobel peace prize winner claimed that the accuser had access to all five of his email accounts and had been putting together an “archive of messages” during the 16 months she worked as a researcher at TERI. “As far as I know, the emails, text messages, etc. that she collected were personal, semi-personal and, in only a few cases, official,” he said. Pachauri also said that the poems he had written and saved electronically, particularly the romantic ones, all had names that could have been replaced easily.

Pachauri further said that the correspondence presented as evidence against him showed that the woman had “actively flirted” with him and “aggressively encouraged a deeper relationship” between them. However, the woman’s lawyer, Prashant Mendiratta, has refuted this claim, saying the emails, SMSes and WhatsApp messages all “categorically prove to the contrary”. He said, “My client was not flirting with him or making advances on him. At no point did she encourage him or give him any reason to make inappropriate physical contact or demand sexual favours.”

On March 1, the Delhi Police filed a 1,400-page chargesheet against Pachauri, accusing him of sexual harassment, stalking, and criminal intimidation. Pachauri went on leave in February after another TERI employee accused him of sexual harassment. His promotion at TERI despite pending charges against him drew widespread outrage.