union of scientists has accused India's main civilian scientific agency of
widespread corruption and mismanagement. The All India CSIR Scientific
Workers Association (SWA), which represents some 5000 Indian scientists,
filed a 1600-page lawsuit today in the state of Delhi's High Court against
the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
The suit contends that embezzlement,
favoritism, and scientific misconduct are rife at CSIR, a conglomerate of
40 national laboratories with an annual budget of about $100 million and
about 8000 scientists. Maringanti Bapuji, an organic chemist and general
secretary of SWA, says "Approaching the judiciary was the only option
left, as CSIR had not cared to respond to complaints till now." The
union is hoping that the courts will order CSIR to streamline and reform
its management, allowing more money for research.
To back up its claims, the SWA levels
many specific charges, such as alleged plagiarism of published scientific
papers by a senior scientist at the Regional Research Laboratory in
Bhubaneswar. The union also claims that a director of a laboratory has
appointed his son and daughter-in-law as scientists in his own institute.
CSIR spokesperson Tulsi Das Nagpal says
he cannot comment on a pending case. But he claims that "the charges
leveled are vague and baseless, and [CSIR] will file a response in the
court if the court so desires." The court is expected to announce
next week whether it will review the charges.