Clarification sought from VC on plagiarism charges

Clarification  sought from VC on plagiarism charges

The Department of Science and Technology, under Ministry of Science and Technology has written to University of Mysore seeking urgent clarification on a matter pertaining to allegations of plagiarism against the varsity’s Vice Chancellor Prof K S Rangappa.

The department is funding a project titled ‘Synthesis and anti-cancer activity of new bio activity heterocycles.’ The project cost is Rs 41.60 lakh, and the department has so far released Rs 17.20 lakh in first installment.

In a letter dated March 6, 2014, Rita Banerjee, Member Secretary (Scientist F), DST, has written to Rangappa, seeking the varsity to submit an action taken report with regard to Rangappa's involvement in plagiarism of a research paper, immediately, for further release of grants and continuation of the project, which ends this year.

The letter, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, states that after receipt of complaints against Rangappa, the matter was discussed in detail in the High Level Committee of the department, and the Committee recommended that the university submit a detailed report about the paper, and the action taken by it.

The department has so far released Rs 5 lakh under ‘Grants for creation of capital assets’, and Rs 12.20 lakh under ‘Grants-in-aid general’ for the project, which was approved on August 29, 2011. The letter has however been addressed to the Vice Chancellor of UoM, a post held by Rangappa himself.

Rangappa is the Principal Investigator of the research project, undertaken by the Chemistry department of UoM. Of the eight research projects taken up by Rangappa, four projects, including that of DST are ongoing (2011-14). The other three are UGC, Indo-Korea, and Indo-South Africa sponsored projects.

Background  

As per the complaint, Rangappa had reproduced/copied a research article titled, 'Kinetics of oxidation of adenosine by tert - butoxyl radicals; Protection and repair by chlorogenic acid', published in the April 2010 edition of journal of Physical Organic Chemistry (Europe).

The complaint alleges that the original authors of the research article are --  G Vijayalakshmi, M Adinarayana and Jayaprakash Rao from Osmania University, who had published the same research article way back in the year June 2008 in the Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics under the same title.

The original authors had accused Rangappa of plagiarism and had brought the matter to the notice of the UGC Chairman, Governor of Karnataka, Vice Chairman of Karnataka Higher Education Council, and the Registrar of UoM, seeking stringent action against Rangappa.

Prof Eshwarappa, Syndicate member, UoM, had raised this matter in the meeting held on December 12, 2010. 

He had also submitted a complaint against Rangappa on plagiarism and PhD irregularities to the Principal Secretary, Higher Education department. A PIL has also been filed in this regard.

‘Will sue DST’

When contacted, Rangappa said that he had not received any letter from DST. “And what plagiarism is DST talking about? These are all concocted stories. DST has to prove that I have done something wrong. Else, I will sue them..they will have to face the music. They can’t play mischief like this,” he added.

Rangappa said that he had submitted progress report for the project, and had also published two papers with regard to the same.

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