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Indian professor guilty of plagiarism

Prof C Ratnam, who is on a visit to Delhi, added: “Professor Chiranjeevi has also been barred from guiding senior research students at the university.”

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After 70 papers in three years, US student blows lid off fraud

NEW DELHI: Between 2004 and 2007, Pattium Chiranjeevi, a chemistry professor at the Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupathi, authored 70 papers that were published in reputed international journals such as the Analytica Chimica Acta and Talanta — a huge contribution to the world of science by any standards.

But a student at the University of Texas, Arlington, blew the lid off a fraud when he pointed out glaring instances of plagiarism while “peer reviewing” a paper authored by Prof Chiranjeevi. A subsequent inquiry initiated by the Sri Venkateswara University (SVU) found Chiranjeevi guilty of what is being termed the biggest scientific fraud in the country.

Confirming to the DNA that professor Chiranjeevi had been found guilty of scientific misconduct and plagiarising works of others, SVU Vice-Chancellor Professor C Ratnam said: “The professor has been debarred from taking any administrative position — principal or head of department — in the university.”

Prof C Ratnam, who is on a visit to Delhi, added: “Professor Chiranjeevi has also been barred from guiding senior research students at the university.”

According to Ratnam, the university found that the instruments cited by Prof Chiranjeevi in his papers did not exist in the university.

Prof Chiranjeevi, however, claimed during the course of inquiry that his unknown enemies had submitted false papers under his name through email addresses that he never created or used and he was being framed by them.

But the university’s investigation, according to an SVU source, found that Prof Chiranjeevi had used the same e-mail addresses in the papers he claimed were authentic.  

The inquiry into the allegations of plagiarism against Prof Chiranjeevi was ordered after Purnendu K Dasgupta, the United States editor of science journal Analytica Chimica Acta, presented evidence to the SVU that the professor had plagiarised and possibly falsified several manuscripts.

Dasgupta, a chemistry professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, discovered the fraud when one of his students pointed out glaring instances of copying while “peer-reviewing” a paper authored by Prof Chiranjeevi.

Dasgupta told Chemical and Engineering News, an online magazine run by the American Chemical Society, “But for the change in the name of the chemical being measured, the papers were identical. At that point, I was really mad.”

Faculty members at SVU told DNA on condition of anonymity that Prof Chiranjeevi had involved some of his students in his activities too. “On many occasions complaints were lodged against him with the university authorities but no action was initiated against Chiranjeevi,” said a faculty member.

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