Ex- Vice Chancellor of Delhi University, Deepak Pental, was recently sent to jail by a city court over charges of plagiarism and forgery.
The complaint had been filed by professor P Parthasarthy, who had accused Pental and a PhD student of plagiarizing his paper on biotechnology and publishing it as their own in 2000-2002.
Subsequently, the additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had ordered Pental’s arrest under section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957 (section 63 provides for prosecution for infringement of copyright). Mr. Pental was taken into custody and later sent to jail.
Pental’s counsel, Arvind Nigam, then approached the Delhi High Court, arguing that the offences under section 63 are bailable and the case has not even reached the stage of framing of notice as service of notice upon a co-accused is yet to be completed. Mr. Nigam alleged that the trial court had passed a wrong order and that Deepak Pental had been illegally taken into custody. Further, the lower Court had failed to hear Pental’s bail plea pending before it since July. Mr. Nigam pointed out that matter is listed for February since the main accused is overseas.
The Delhi High Court was prima facie convinced and has stayed the arrest order of the lower Court till the next date of hearing. The Court ordered immediate release of the academic from Tihar Jail.
It is worth noting that the Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Abhijit Chakrabarti, was also accused of plagiarism recently by Jadavpur University Teachers Association. According to the allegations, the Vice-Chancellor had presented a paper at 2011 INDICON, the annual conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and he had copied the text of his article verbatim from another article. This fuelled the demand for the resignation of Chakrabarti from his office.