Chandigarh: Three doctors of PGIMER, Dr. Amitava Chakravarti, Dr. Pinaki Dutta, and Dr. Santosh Kumar have been charge sheeted for plagiarism. This is the first time that senior faculty of PGIMER has been booked for plagiarism and data manipulation. The charge sheet against the three comes at a time when the prestigious medical-cum-research institute had recently come out with guidelines on plagiarism.
The three charge sheeted belong to the following departments of the PGIMER: Dr. Amitava Chakravarti- Head of Pharmacology, Dr. Pinaki Dutta- Additional Professor, Endocrinology Department, Dr. Santosh Kumar-Associate Professor Urology Department.
A fourth faculty, Dr Rakesh Sehgal, Head Parasitology Department has also been accused of plagiarism and data manipulation, however he is yet to be served a notice. Research misconduct cases, had been forwarded to the governing body last year, which had asked the institute to seek an explanation from the doctors on why they should not be charge sheeted.
“We have chargesheeted three doctors and shall issue notice to the remaining found guilty. But we do not want plagiarism to become a tool to be used against one another,” said Dr Subash Varma, officiating Director, PGIMER.
Under section 63 of the Indian copyright act, a plagiarism culprit is to be put behind bars. A person can be imprisoned between six months to three years, if caught for plagiarism.
Plagiarism was discussed at the governing body meeting chaired by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda, on October 13 last year. During the meeting the Institute’s Ethic Committee report (which was constituted to probe the allegations) was cited.
Dr Amitava, one of the accused when contacted by the TOI said, “I am a government servant and cannot reply to this.” Dr Dutta also remained unavailable for comment, while Dr Santosh said, “I have not received the notice. But I am not guilty of these charges. I was a co-author of the article of which Dr Dutta was the corresponding author. In a complaint against data manipulation to the director, his name was only mentioned. I have nothing to do with it.”
The accused however, were charge sheeted on the basis of the inquiry committee’s preliminary investigation finding them prima facie guilty of misconduct.
The explanation by the accused is now called for, as the next process would depend on the explanation provided. For it would decide whether there is need for conducting an inquiry for further disciplinary action or closing of case.
In the European Journal of Endocrinology a research paper: “Prostatic hyperplasia in acromegaly, a myth or reality: a case – control study,” whose corresponding author was Dr Pinaki Dutta, one of the co-authors, senior pathologist Dr Nandita Kakkar had alleged Dr Dutta’s claim of examination of biopsy samples was false as biopsies were never processed in her laboratory.
She had lodged a complaint to the Dean of Research regarding the same and disassociated herself from the study.
Former Director, PGIMER, Dr Yogesh Chawla, marked the complaint to the Institute’s Ethics Committee, which in August last year, under the stewardship of Dr. KS Chugh ordered that Dr. Dutta be debarred from all research activity for two years.
In the journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, an article by Dr Amitava Chakravarti and his students, “Short Communication: Drug Information Unit as an Effective Tool for Promoting Rational Drug Use,” existence of data manipulation was discovered.
The Article was retracted citing the reason to be: “This article has been retracted by the editorial due to problems with data discovered on post publication reanalysis of paper following a complaint.”