A month ago, Delhi University forwarded a letter to the head of department of Buddhist Studies, asking him to look into a plagiarism complaint against a colleague. The complaint had come from Peter Harvey, a professor at the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom. It claimed that one of his papers was published in the Journal of Buddhist Studies — which is published by the department.
However, Harvey never made any such complaint.
According to the letter, Harvey’s paper that has been plagiarised is called the “Vinaya Principles for Assigning Degrees of Culpability”. It was published in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics in 1999. The letter claims his paper has been copied by associate professor Indra Narain Singh and published as “The Parajika Rules and the Offences of Murder” in the Journal of Buddhist Studies in March 2002.
In an email interaction with The Indian Express, Harvey said, “I am indeed the author of the Vinaya Principles… but I did not write this letter. This is very strange.” The letter also said Harvey came to know about this when he had participated in
the International Buddhist Conference organised by Nalanda Mahavira. The letter, written on April 9, mentions the address of University of Sunderland. After it was received by DU on April 20, it was signed by Pammi Dua, Dean Research, and sent to the department on May 1 — a copy of which is with this paper.
Harvey said, “I did not give a paper at Nalanda Mahavira. Also, the letter gives my address as the University of Sunderland, London, and postcode is mentioned (as) E14 9SG… which is of Canary Wharf London. Sunderland is 300 miles from London. Importantly, I retired from the university in 2011… The person who sent this letter is trying to carry out some kind of scam.”
Responding to the complaint, department head KTS Sarao said, “I have given my observations to the issues raised… Since it is a very technical paper, there were several parts which were found to be copied. This issue was even raised by the academic council member on Tuesday. It is for the university to decide now.”
However, Indra Narain Singh said the complaint was fake. “… I don’t know about this complaint. On this same paper, an enquiry was conducted when Deepak Nayar was the V-C,” he said.