NOTE: This doesn't appear to be an isolated instance:
Untangling India's Bt cotton fraud
Shoddy inter-academy report on GM casts shadow on Indian science
National Biodiversity Authority to prosecute Mahyco/Monsanto and collaborators
Top GM researcher falsified patent claim to grab national award
Dinesh C. Sharma
India Today, October 29 2012
New Delhi - A top scientist engaged in research on genetically modified (GM) food crops has been found to have falsified claims about patents to grab a national award.
The scientist, Dr Kailash C. Bansal, was given the prestigious Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award for "outstanding research" in transgenic crops for the year 2007-2008 on the basis of claims that he had"filed three patents for novel gene discovery", including one on transgenic brinjal .
In reality, no such patent application or patent existed when he was given the award on July 16, 2009.
Documents obtained under RTI and investigation made by Mail Today show that no patent application had been filed for brinjal discovery in October 2008 when Bansal was nominated for the award or in July 2009 when he was presented the award.
Bansal holds top positions in the research hierarchy of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).
When he got the Kidwai award he was a professor at the National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) and presided over ICAR's transgenic research programme involving about 20 institutes all over the country and five-year budget exceeding Rs.135 core.
Top brass in ICAR have not only ignored the patent goof-up but has also rewarded Bansal by making him director of India's plant gene bank, officially known as National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources.
NRCPB's Institute Technology Management Committee (ITMC), which approves patent applications of scientists, was ignorant about Bansal's patent application till it found a mention in the award citation.
After the award was presented in July 2009, ITMC quizzed Bansal about the application on July 21, 2009, followed up by a reminder 10 days later. On August 5, 2009, Bansal replied saying he had applied for the patent on October 30, 2007, through a private law firm, Corporate Law Group. But the reference number given by him belongs to year 2009.
Despite the committee asking him to submit a copy of his application or receipt as a proof, Bansal did not comply. ITMC later wrote to ICAR. Instead of taking action against Bansal, the ICAR asked ITMC to 'regularise' Bansal's application "in the Council's interest".
When Mail Today asked Bansal about the patent, he goofed up further. He gave the same reference number -1621/DEL/2009 - for his patent application, but a different date of filing. The date of application he gave to ITMC is October 30, 2007, whereas the date given in response to Mail Today queries is July 27, 2007. In reality, the application was filed in the first week of August 2009.
Mere continuance of Bansal in the ICAR system despite the patent taint is being used by both Bansal and his mentors in ICAR headquarters as a defence.
Bansal in an email response to Mail Todaysaid: "I continue to be part of the ICAR system on the same campus and faculty of NRCPB." His boss in ICAR, Dr Swapan K. Datta, also echoed the same line, "ICAR has taken official response on this matter. Dr Bansal is still working within ICAR". He did not reply when asked specifically what the official stand of the council was.
*The citation of Kidwai award given to Dr K. C. Bansal mentioned a patent filed by him for transgenic brinjal
*The institute records showed that no such application was filed when he got the award
*When questioned about it, he filed the application after getting the award
*ICAR authorities took no action against him but asked institute to 'regularise the application'
*The dates of filing application given by Bansal to the institute and Mail Today do not match
*Ignoring the patent goof up, Bansal was made head of India's gene repository.