Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Another day, another (10,000) dollar(s)

The "embattled" Dr Pachuri (as the media are now describing him) has his UN colleagues rallying around him in a desperate attempt to restore something of his tarnished prestige, offering him yet another award.

This one is the 2010 UN-HABITAT Cities Lecture Award. As well as the $10,000 cash prize, a key component is the delivery, by the award winner, of a lecture before a live audience. Dr. Pachauri will present his lecture at 1400 on Tuesday 23rd March at the World Urban Forum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The award, we are told, is in recognition of Pachauri's "outstanding contribution and leadership in the area of climate change and, in particular, his contribution to knowledge and global action on climate change and cities."

Ostensibly, Pachauri might welcome the $10,000 as a supplement to the meagre £2,600 a month salary which he claims is paid to him by his "research institute", but with this man, what you see is not what you yet.

Curiously, amongst the great accomplishments attributed to Dr Pachauri in the UN-HABITAT press release – in addition to him receiving the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC – is his service as President of the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi 2004-06.

The irony of citing the Habit Centre is almost certainly lost on the award committee as it was Pachari's tenure on the governing council of the centre, during its development, which first exposed him publicly as a consummate and unprincipled liar.

As set out in our earlier post, it was then that judge K Ramamoorthy in the Delhi High Court condemned Pachauri for suppressing material facts and swearing a false affidavit.

There is something of the psychopath in the ease and fluidity with which Pachauri so often lies – which makes him seem to plausible – but it is in that context that his current salary claim must be seen.

Here, one has to note that he refers only to his "research institute", but that is only one of the many enterprises under the TERI brand-name that he heads. Amongst others, there is the commercial company TERI Biotech, which has a 47 percent share in the joint venture company called ONGC TERI Biotech Ltd (OTBL).

There is also the TERI University which, despite its title, is a commercial enterprise, of which Pachauri is chancellor, and there are many other organisations and divisions which could be separate companies, which have not been identified. And there is also his Houston Glori Oil company, about which the man is strangely reticent.

The one thing Pachauri does not tell us, therefore, is his total earnings, which may include shares, share options and other cash equivalents which all go towards what is often called the "compensation package". Rather, he leaves us with the impression that the salary is his income, which is unlikely to be the case.

Another problem we have is that a man who sees no problem with swearing false affidavits is hardly going to have a problem lying about his income, so even if he did come up with a total figure, how would we believe him?

As for the $10,000 prize, it would not surprise me if, in a grand public gesture, Pachauri "donates" the money to some worthy cause. After all, for a man living in a house worth £4.5 million who only pays his tailor £30 "to stitch his suits" (although he does not say how much he pays for the cloth), and who has a fleet of chauffeur-driven cars at his disposal while living the life-style of a multi-millionaire, a mere $10,000 is loose change.

Frankly though, how much he does earn is not the central issue. It is only relevant inasmuch as we have in Pachauri a man who is quite obviously well off telling other people who are less well off than him that they must cut back on their consumption. Hypocrisy is the issue, not greed.