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Allegations of academic scams, again, under LDF regime?

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CM’s Academic Advisor faces allegations of plagiarism

Kerala (VSK).

Ratheesh Kaliyadan, the Additional Private Secretary and Academic Advisor to the Chief Minister of Kerala, is in the centre of a controversy in connection with his PhD. According to reports, allegations have arisen with respect to the legitimacy of Ratheesh’s full-time PhD he obtained from Assam University in 2014.

Aloysius Xavier, the president of KSU (Kerala Students Union), the student wing of Congress, has alleged that Ratheesh has plagiarised many parts of his doctoral thesis. He alleges that nearly 70 % of the thesis was plagiarised, a blatant violation of research norms and regulations.

Critics raise the question regarding how did Ratheesh manage to engage himself in full-time research at Assam University in 2014 while working as a teacher in Thalasserry Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Kannur district, Kerala, from 2009 to 2017. There are observers who sarcastically compare this to Nikhil Thomas’s simultaneous BCom courses at MSM College, Kayamkulam, Alappuzha district, Kerala as well as Kalinga University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. When Nikhil issue came up, Kerala Varsity VC had wondered if there any flight service between Kayamkulam and Chhattisgarh.

And, there is no reason to assume that Ratheesh did not draw salary during the period of his employment in the school. If so, the matter will be further complicated.

KSU president said, further to 70 % plagiarism, the unauthorised copying of the contents from internet, journals including those of students and other publications have been reportedly found when the thesis was tested for plagiarism with an authorised software, ‘turnitin’.

Media reports the status of plagiarism as follows – The first chapter of the thesis is alleged to have 85%, Second chapter 95%, the third chapter with 62%, fourth chapter 66% and 86% in the fifth chapter.

On top of the above, KSU leader alleged that Ratheesh’s research was completed in two years and twenty-five days. This allegation has taken the people by surprise. Because, University Grants Commission’s (UGC) stipulation is for a minimum period of three years for the completion of a PhD. The same time he worked in a school in Kerala during the same period. KSU leader wonder how can he have 80 % attendance in Assam while working in Kerala. So, he might not have done the course work prescribed by the UGC.

Aloysius Xavier added that he would file a complaint to Assam Varsity and demand the cancellation of Ratheesh’s PhD. He would request UGC to probe into the issue.

Save University Campaign Committee (SUCC) Chairman R.S. Sasikumar has demanded a thorough investigation into this alleged anomaly. He said, if at all it was a ‘distance research study’, the candidate has to study there for a year.

Meanwhile reports suggest allegation that Ratheesh’s thesis is quite similar to the one submitted, by one Rajesh V.R., before Mysore University for PhD in 2014. A senior college teacher told the media that it looks like, it was prepared by a single person. He says that pictures, diagrams and even spelling errors are the same in both theses.

Academicians opine that if somebody complains to UGC, it will ask both universities to go ahead with a ‘comparison exercise’. It will not be a pleasant news for both.

Both KSU and ABVP demand the withdrawal of Ratheesh’s PhD.

Ratheesh Kaliyadan has denied all allegations arose against him. He said, he would go for legal action against KSU leader for raising false allegations against him. He has already filed a complaint before the Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner against spreading false allegations through social media. But so far, he has not presented any convincing counter against the allegations he faces.

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