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CDRI scientists accused of fraud bid

HALF-A-DOZEN scientists in the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) have been accused of ?attempted-fraud? in a bid to get their research paper published in a USA-based scientific journal.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2006 01:35 IST
Venugopal Pillai
Venugopal Pillai
None
Hindustantimes
         

HALF-A-DOZEN scientists in the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) have been accused of ‘attempted-fraud’ in a bid to get their research paper published in a USA-based scientific journal.

It has been alleged that the scientists attributed the clinical strains (parasites from patients) to a senior scientist Prof Shyam Sundar of the Banaras Hindu University, which was denied by the Prof Sundar at the time of reviewing the manuscript (paper).

The clinical scientist in his reply to the journal “Diagnostic and Infectious Diseases” denied that the strains as mentioned by these scientists ever existed with him and lodged a complaint with the director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research R A Mashelkar.

Revealing this to Hindustan Times, Dr Sundar said the act was an attempted-fraud by the CDRI scientists. The paper, which was sent for publication in the journal, had come for review to Prof Sundar in February. The authors of the paper had claimed that they had taken the patient material for the study from Prof Sundar, who claimed that he never ever met any of these authors.

Most importantly Prof Sundar denied that the corresponding author of the manuscript Dr Uma Roy had ever approached him for material. Prof Sundar denied that the numbers of the isolates mentioned in the manuscript had ever existed with him. “I wrote a number of mails to DG CSIR informing him about the attempted-fraud. But no action has been taken yet,” he quipped.

Prof Sundar said such unethical acts were performed for the sake of promotion, but it only ended up in bringing bad name to the country.

One of the authors Dr Raja Roy in e-mails dated February 21, 2006 to DG CSIR, director (CDRI) C M Gupta and Prof Shyam Sundar admitted to the lapse on his part. A portion of his mail reads: “As a senior author it is my full mistake that I did not cross-check whether these strains were really provided by Professor Shyam Sundar.” Prof Sundar accused the director of CDRI of shielding his scientists.

Reacting over the issue, CDRI director Dr C M Gupta said the strains were very old and were arranged by former head of the Bio Chemistry Department (CDRI) Dr A K Rastogi from Prof Sundar. The latter, however, denies any exchange of scientific material between him and Dr A K Rastogi. Prof Sundar said he only provided isolates to one Dr Neeloo Singh of the CDRI. She also denied having passed on the isolates to the  scientists.

Dr Gupta denied that there was any attempted fraud but admitted to the fact that the paper was rejected by the journal.  He dismissed the issue as “not worth spending time”.

First Published: Apr 25, 2006 01:35 IST