University of Hyderabad's vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile has been in trouble for some time now. First, it was his role in the Rohith Vemula's suicide case that had students up in arms against him, then his use of police to keep protesting students in control was met with some criticism and now he is under fire for plagiarism.
If the recent controversies were an attack on his administrative skills, the latest accusation puts a question mark on his credentials as an academician.
The Wire reported that Podile plagiarised - basically "cut and paste" - six sentences in three research papers co-authored by him in 2007 and 2014.
The three research papers are: Root Colonization and Quorum Sensing are the Driving Forces of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for Growth Promotion published in the journal Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy; Induced Defence in Plants: A Short Overview, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India; and a paper which was originally published in the Indian Journal of Microbiology in 2007.
Admitting to the charges, Podile told The Times of India that the plagiarism was unintentional and was by oversight.
Podile told the Deccan Chronicle that since the authors laid no claim to anyone else's research findings, the issue is a minor one. He also brushed the row saying the papers were just review papers and the journal's editor has told him that the row could be settled with a simple clarification in the journal's upcoming issue. Podile added that there is no limit to what can be termed plagiarism.
"When the papers were submitted, software for anti-plagiarism was also not in use, had it been in use it would have been known then itself,” he told the paper.
Podile may be defending it calling the issue a minor one, those opposing him have just found new ammunition.
Hyderabad Univ VC admits to plagiarism. So much for 'merit', hmmm? How can he be allowed to remain VC? https://t.co/08onFnEYsD— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) April 6, 2016
The NewsMinute report said the issue has further fuelled tension at the campus and students have stepped up their protests against Podile.