Posts Tagged ‘IIM-A’

Prof. Rajanish Dass wins in court but IIM Ahmedabad tries to parse the court’s verdict

August 3, 2014

Two years ago I had posted, here and here,  about the case of Prof. Rajanish Dass who resigned – under pressure – from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad after being accused of plagiarism. IIM also made a police complaint accusing him of sending offensive e-mails.

But Prof. Dass has fought his case and won in court.

Now Prof. Dass has sent me an e-mail

“….. Previously, allegations of plagiarism had been manufactured against me, which were baseless, frivolous and were without any cogent proof or evidence. In fact, one of these allegations made was on a report, which did not exist at all. The same have been proved baseless over a period of time in the court of law and the inquiry report for these allegations had already been trashed when challenged in the High Court of Gujarat in 2012 (see http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Hear-Dass-Out-Gujarat-high-court-tells-IIM-A/articleshow/12154670.cms.) ….

….. However, I am happy to mention to you that after a rigorous investigation by the Crime Branch Ahmedabad, I have been given a clean chit against the allegations made against me and the honorable Criminal Court has also discharged me with honor (see

  1. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Ahmedabad/Courts-clean-chit-to-former-professor/articleshow/32382468.cms
  2. http://epaper.dnaindia.com/story.aspx?id=46728&boxid=110273&ed_date=2014-03-21&ed_code=1310005&ed_page=3… Now IIMA says that the charges of plagiarism were neither proved nor disproved. The question is had there been any legal charges, why did IIMA accept my resignation?).  ….”

India, unlike Scotland, does not have a  “not proven” verdict. If you are “not guilty” you revert to being “innocent”. IIM-A it seems to me are trying to claim that the plagiarism charges are something separate and are neither unproven nor proven though the court has thrown out their charges – now shown to be false – of malicious e-mails. But if plagiarism can not be proven – as IIM-A admits – then what was all the fuss about? If plagiarism is not proven then surely a presumption of innocence applies. 

IIM-A’s response – it seems to me is a trifle disingenuous, since if the plagiarism charges are not proven then there was no cause to force his resignation in the first place. This seems like IIM-A trying to parse the verdict of the court and convert a “not guilty” verdict to be instead “not guilty of this charge but not proven regarding plagiarism”. A mealy-mouthed response, I think.

Is IIM-A really saying that an allegation of plagiarism – which after 2 years is still unproven – was sufficient to force Prof. Dass to resign?

The honourable course for IIM-A – and especially as they cannot prove that any plagiarism took place – is to accept the verdict of the court gracefully and pay Prof. Dass his dues. Reinstatement may not be practical but IIM-A cannot keep accusing him of plagiarism which they are unable to prove.

(In his email Prof. Dass had requested me to remove the previous posts but I don’t think that would be the correct thing to do. He won his court case a few months ago – which I had missed at the time.)

Professor at IIM-A resigns

April 14, 2012

Update 2014! See new post 

Update!

There are many comments in support of Prof. Dass  and some in support of Sujoy Pal. But many are rather nasty and merely personal attacks against the one or the other. I have left the last comment with one of Prof. Dass’ students which is rather more compelling than the personal attacks.

But if the allegations against Prof. Dass are largely malicious then it is a great pity that

  1. he resigned, and
  2. that IIM-A has not backed him up and declined to accept his resignation.

IIM-A does not come out of this very well. My tentative conclusion to all this is that IIM-A is still developing its own internal processes and does not really know – yet –  how to handle matters of alleged plagiarism.

There are some parallels with development of internal processes in industry to deal with corruption over the last 15-20 years. Here the mistake made by industry – in my opinion – was to focus on compliance rather than on ethics. A focus therefore on detection and punishment rather than on prevention. There is a risk that Indian Universities are going down the same path with a focus on plagiarism detection rather than on ethics. While the act of “policing” cannot be avoided by organisations the mere mechanical use of software to detect plagiarism is not enough. My own experience is that if ethics can be sound then compliance (or plagiarism) largely become non-issues. The challenge is  how to institutionalise the development of sound ethics in any organisation.

Comments on this subject are now closed.

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Professor Rajanish Dass at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad had blamed his co-author, Sujoy Pal (a research associate) for the plagiarism he was found guilty of. Dass has claimed that it was due to “ignorance and not intention” and had taken his case to the Gujarat High Court which had given him a small measure of relief when it had instructed the Institute to take some of his additional responses into account.

But he has now bowed to the inevitable and resigned.

Faculty of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), Rajanish Dass, who had approached the high court after the institute accused him of plagiarism, has chosen to resign from his post at the institute. 

Confirming the resignation, dean of academic affairs at IIM-A, B H Jajoo said, “He left on April 2.”  ……. In its report to IIM-A director Samir Barua on February 3, the committee concluded that allegations against Dass were “valid” and he has resorted to plagiarism in three papers. Confirming his resignation, Dass said, “I submitted my resignation due to health issues on April 2, which was accepted by IIM-A on the same day.” 

Dass has been on medical leave from the institute since the time he had approached HC (the High Court).

Considering that he had resigned 12 days ago and in a rather high profile case, it is a little surprising that the Institute did not have the courage to come out with the news of his resignation immediately. It suggests that they have not yet seen the advantages of transparency and that some are perhaps still hoping that the plagiarism issues cropping up at IIM-A will merely go away.

Some students at IIM-A have also accused Dass  – anonymously – of having outsourced his own thesis to students at Jadavpur University.

Indian Institute of Management Professor found guilty of plagiarism – blames co-author, goes to court

March 6, 2012

It seems to be becoming the standard defence for senior authors in Indian academia to blame their juniors when found guilty of plagiarism. The recent case of plagiarism by Prof. CNR Rao (Science Advisor to the Indian PM) and Prof. SB Krupanidhi of the Indian Institute of Science where they took refuge first in blaming a student and then in trying to trivialise the plagiarism is a case in point.

Now a Professor Rajanish Dass at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad has blamed his co-author, Sujoy Pal (a research associate) for the plagiarism he was found guilty of. Dass has claimed that it was due to “ignorance and not intention” and has gone to the Gujarat High Court to try and delay the inevitable. Ironically Dass claims to be working on e-governance!

Students and research associates rank very low in the hierarchy of Indian academia and are convenient scapegoats for senior scientists and professors when they try to shrug off their responsibilities for wrong-doings.

Times of India: 

A Gujarat high court ruling on Monday has come as a breather for IIM-A professor Rajanish Dass, who was held guilty of plagiarism in a preliminary inquiry conducted by the institute.

(more…)


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