It has been almost a year since the Mumbai University (MU) received a letter from its history department accusing its faculty member, Prof Dr Sandesh Wagh, of plagiarism. While a probe ordered following the claims remains inconclusive, the professor continues as a guide for research students.
The complaint of plagiarism dates back to June 2021 when then head of department of history, Prof Dr Kishore Gaikwad, wrote to the vice-chancellor of MU alleging that while functioning as guide for research candidates, Wagh was allegedly “copying and reproducing already researched material from one research student’s work to another”.
The letter (accessed by The Indian Express) added that it has been observed that Wagh provides thesis – which have been deposited with the department – written by previous students, who had already completed MPhil and PhD degrees, to new students under his guidance. “…(The theses) are extensively copied and pasted in the newly-registered students’ dissertations… pages after pages are plagiarised verbatim,” it further said.
The six-page letter also provided examples of plagiarism by comparing research works submitted by old and new students.
Gaikwad, who is no longer associated with MU, said, “I held a department-level inquiry after receiving complaints from students. The examples given in the letter are just a few randomly-checked thesis works. I was also called to make a presentation of my findings before the university panel. But it has almost been a year now. There has been no development in the case while he continues to remain a guide for research candidates.”
When The Indian Express reached out to Wagh, he refused to comment.
In a statement, MU said, “A departmental academic integrity panel was formed in this regard. Following a meeting by this panel, the institutional academic integrity panel has held two more meetings. The investigation continues.”
An official from MU said that Wagh continuing as a research guide is not against regulations as the investigation is still pending.