Appa Rao Podile, University of Hyderabad's Vice-Chancellor is once again in the line of fire. After facing heavy criticism from all quarters about the improper handling of protesting students, he admitted on Tuesday to plagiarism in three research papers, which he had co-authored in 2007 and 2014, reported The Times Of India.
Questions about his academic credentials were raised as a report went viral online drawing attention to his offence. Reports suggested that the students demanded immediate action and the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (JAC) asked for his removal.
Appa Rao was quoted in The Times Of India admitting to copying a few sentences and said that it was unintentionally done. The report added that he said that since there was no software, the plagiarised sentences went unnoticed. "Even we allow certain percentage of overlapping of sentences. In review of literature, such incidents do occur. In my opinion, plagiarism done by us is much below the allowed percentage,“ he said in the report.
According to The Asian Age, most of the content was plagiarised in "the paper 'Root Colonisation and Quorum Sensing are the Driving Forces of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for Growth Promotion,'published in the Indian National Science Academy journal in 2014."
Protests once again erupted on the campus with students demanding the V-C's resignation. Security was stepped in the campus with the 'Chalo HCU' protest started by the JAC. They called for students and political activists to come to the University of Hyderabad campus and join their protest. The Hindustan Times reported that the students marched towards Appa Rao's lodge where the academic council was scheduled to meet. However, in view of the security concerns, the venue was changed, the report added.
The university is set to face a huge financial loss because of the ongoing protests. As per the IBN Live, over Rs 3 crore was paid towards salary of teaching and non-teaching staff, even when there was no productive activity. However, Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad, which have been at the centre of massive rows recently, topped the list of central varsities. JNU came third, while University of Hyderabad came in the fourth place.
With inputs from agencies