A PROFESSOR of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) who was accused of plagiarism has been shortlisted for the directorship of two NIPER campuses at Hajipur in Bihar and Guwahati. The decision has raised eyebrows in the teaching fraternity at NIPER, with some senior faculty members planning to lodge a complaint against it.
According to highly placed sources, the name of Prof U C Banerjee has been shortlisted for the directorship of NIPER campuses at Hajipur and Guwahati. The decision was taken at a meeting of the steering committee of the Department of Pharmaceutical, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, in December last year. Prof Banerjee is the front-runner for the directorship of Hajipur NIPER and also a strong candidate for Guwahati NIPER.
Prof Banerjee remained in controversy after his junior levelled allegations of plagiarism against him in 2005. After the allegations, Prof Banerjee was held guilty of plagiarism and victimisation of his subordinate, Dr Animesh Roy, by an independent ombudsman committee in 2009. However, services of Dr Animesh were terminated abruptly in 2005 when he complained against Prof Banerjee for stealing his research work and publishing it in his name in a journal.
Dr Animesh was finally re-instated in 2011. However, no action was taken against Prof Banerjee by the NIPER management.
Accusations were also levelled against Dr K K Bhutani, who had become officiating director of NIPER in 2011, for not taking any action against Prof Banerjee. Dr Bhutani was recently booked by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the purchase of a software called ‘SciFinder’.
The Ministry of Science and Technology also denied a fellowship to Prof Banerjee in 2011 when facts against him came to light. The matter came to light through an RTI query.
The shortlisting of Prof Banerjee for the directorship has also raised questions about the role of present officiating director of NIPER Dr Bhutani for recommending the name of a tainted person to the ministry.
When contacted, Dr Bhutani’s mobile was switched off and his personal assistant said that he was out of station.
Prof Banerjee, when contacted, said that the case was disposed of but he did not remember the time when it was disposed of.