Allure of Tainted Heads: Where are we going?

Allure of Tainted Heads: Where are we going?Former Delhi University Vice Chancellor, Deepal Pental, who is a Professor of Genetics and a noted researcher, was arrested and sent to Tihar jail on the order of additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on charges of plagiarism, cheating, criminal breach of trust and forgery.

While Plagiarism covered in section 63 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 is a non-bailable offence, he was also charged with unauthorized use of hazardous material which carries maximum sentence of life in Jail. However, he was later released after spending few hours in Tihar Jail on the directions of Delhi High Court as it stayed the arrest order of lower Court till the next date of hearing. In 2009, a fellow professor, Professor P Partha Sarthy accused Pental of plagiarising his paper on biotechnology and also illegally using cobalt, a chemical substance, from the university’s science laboratory. Professor Pental was arrested for the”unauthorized use of a hazardous material.”

Pental held the post of Vice Chancellor of Delhi University in 2005-2010 and is an expert in the field of transgenic and has reportedly published more than 60 research papers. He has also received many awards, including one from France. In 2009, Partha Sarathy filed the complaint against Pental in Delhi University and a committee was set up to look into the issue. However, the committee report gave a clean chit to the former VC.

In another such incident, Chandra Krishnamurthy, the former Vice-Chancellor of National Law University Orissa and currently the Vice-Chancellor of Pondicherry University, was also accused of plagiarism. She is alleged to have copied research papers written by N R Madhava Menon in 5 out of 8 chapters of her book, ‘Legal Education in India’. The Pondicherry University Teachers’ Association has brought the issue to the knowledge of Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) and sought appropriate action against her. It is further alleged that she claims to have written two books and innumerable research papers but traces of the same are not available anywhere. Early this month, the Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Abhijit Chakrabarti, was also accused of plagiarism and his resignation was sought by the teaching staff and the students on this basis.