Ex-Jyoti Vihar VC alleges plagiarism in PhD thesis

Former Sambalpur University  vice-chancellor  Arun Pujari has accused varsity students of reproducing the same thesis for obtaining PhD batch after batch by making minor changes only.

Enraged with the allegation of plagiarism, university teachers have taken up the matter with VC Bishnu Barik and resolved not to associate Pujari with any academic activities of the varsity. A citizens’  forum on Monday sent a memorandum to the chancellor and the chief vigilance commissioner, seeking an investigation into Pujari’s claim on his blog.
Pujari, who was the varsity VC from August 2008 to August 2011, in his blog www.sweekaarokti.blogspot.in posted a write-up ‘Plagiarism and Jyotivihar’ on March 10 alleging that he came across plagiarism in PhD thesis of the varsity frequently. “All the departments suffered from the disease…Life science, mathematics and chemistry. Thesis in history department on medicinal plant was a copy of another work in life science department. I felt helpless. I had other priorities,” Pujari wrote. “I had sufficient  proof for a thesis to get cancelled.. a clear example of plagiarism. I took view of the  Syndicate members none of whom were serious,” he added. Stating that teachers were party to the crime of plagiarism, Pujari wrote that a  professor published 10 research papers in 12 months, which is humanly impossible unless the  researcher copies those.

Sambalpur University Teachers’ Association (SUTA) condemned Pujari for the blog and described the allegations as baseless. “All the allegations are baseless. The PhD thesis goes through a very strict system of evaluation, including by external examiners not known to the guides. Thesis preparation is guided by stringent regulations,” said  SUTA adviser P C Mishra.
Regarding publishing 10 papers in 12 months by a professor,  Mishra said the person may have worked them over years. Just that they were published in the same year. “If Pujari came across anything wrong during his tenure he should have corrected it then as vice-chancellor instead of trying to ruin the university image now,” Mishra said.

Mishra said the SUTA on March 18 passed a  resolution not to involve Pujari in any future activities of the varsity. SUTA has also taken up the matter with the current VC, he added. Sambalpur Citizens’ Forum on Monday sent a memorandum to  governor M C Bhandare, who is chancellor of universities, besides the CVC and  director (vigilance), seeking an inquiry into Pujari’s charges.
The memorandum said a university stands for its good quality research work. By indulging in plagiarism, the persons/teachers have undermined the name and fame of the university. A proper inquiry should be done to unearth such a big scam in education sector, it said.
“Plagiarism is a crime. Jobs and promotions obtained on basis of such plagiarized research works and publications are illegal,” said Surendra Sahani, a signatory of the memorandum.

Despite attempts, Pujari was not available for comment. Current VC Barik, when contacted, said the matter of his predecessor’s blog was already discussed in different forums. “But I will not comment on his opinion made on an unofficial platform,” Barik said.

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