Deepak Pental, the former vice-chancellor of Delhi University, has made a case in the High Court that his “only contribution” to the research work in dispute was to grant his laboratory facilities to the co-accused.
Pental is locked in a legal battle over an alleged plagiarism case brought by former associate S Pardha Saradhi.
A former PhD scholar, KVSK Prasad, is a co-accused in the case. Pental has also pleaded that Saradhi “suppressed material facts” from the court.
The alleged “suppression” relates to the findings of a committee comprising Professors Malashri Lal, R C Kuhad and Thelma B. This panel of experts on scientific matters was constituted to examine the complaint of plagiarism lodged by Saradhi.
Pental’s counsel Samrat Nigam claimed that Saradhi, who had first filed the complaint with the committee, suppressed the final findings of the committee, which had exonerated Pental.
In a 2009 report, the panel concluded that Pental’s research team was not involved either with the scientific or financial aspects of Department of Science and Technology. He was also not involved in the Young Scientist Project awarded to Prasad.
On the violation of Copyright Act, Pental’s counsel contended that he was “not even a signatory” of the progress report that was submitted by Saradhi before the court. It was also argued that Pental had never claimed any “authorship” or other right over the “disputed” work of the other accused. The complainant has no evidence in this regard, the counsel said.
However, the counsel admitted that Pental granted the laboratory facilities to Dr Prasad. Nigam said, “Nobody has even started arguing the merits of the case. Unfortunately, the trial court acted in a manner that was unknown to law. We have stated during the bail plea that my client is being dragged into these proceedings maliciously and without justifiable cause.”