Appa Rao Podile, the vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, has been in the eye of the storm for a while now. Students have been protesting against the resumption of duty by Rao who has been blamed for the ‘institutional killing’ of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. The students have even written to President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking his immediate intervention.
Rao is again in the news, not for any good reason.
According to this report in The Wire, there are evidences to show Rao has done a 'cut and paste' job in multiple scientific articles that now raises questions about his academic credentials.
The report indicates that the article 'Root Colonisation and Quorum Sensing are the Driving Forces of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for Growth Promotion' has at least six plagiarised sentences.
The Hyderabad University vice chancellor is the lead as well as corresponding author of the mentioned article, which was published in 2014 in the journal, Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy.
And not just once instance, the report shows that three of Rao's papers published in 2007 and 2014 have parts that have been completely lifted from elsewhere without any citations.
When Rao was asked for comments, this is what he said: “If we have plagiarised others’ data, we will retract the paper with regrets. If we have missed citing references of the original source for a part of the text, we will apologise for the mistakes.”
Rao says that he will use “appropriate software from now on” to check for plagiarism.
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