The board of governors of IIT Kanpur has decided to examine the professor’s thesis through an independent committee of experts. The board has decided not to revoke the PhD degree of the assistant professor who is facing allegations of plagiarism.

“The board did not agree with the decision of the senate to revoke Saderla’s PhD degree . But at the same time, it was decided that the thesis should be examined by a committee of technical experts from outside IIT Kanpur. The report of the technical experts, which will be put before the board, should be submitted at the earliest,” said IIT Kanpur Director, Abhay Karandikar.

The decision might come as a huge relief to assistant professor Subrahmanyam Saderla. Saderla being a dalit had complained of caste-based harassment by some seniors at the institute.

An anonymous email sent to the institute’s authorities alleged Saderla’s PhD thesis of plagiarism. It was sent in October 2018. The matter was forwarded to Academic Ethics Cell (AEC) of IIT Kanpur for further investigation.

The AEC has confirmed that there was nothing suspicious about Saderla’s own research work. Plagiarism charges might be levelled at introductory descriptions which are standard and the author doesn’t take any credit for those. AEC suggested Saderla should rewrite the areas in his own words but IIT senate disagreed to this.

The meeting on Tuesday was chaired by former Indian Space Research Organisation chief K Radhakrishnan, who is now the chairperson of the IIT Kanpur board of governors.

“I am waiting for an official communication and an update in this regard,” mentioned Saderla.

AK Ghosh, Saderla’s guide and head of aerospace engineering said that “The thesis was evaluated as per UGC (University Grants Commission) norms and was even shown to the board members. Anybody can see the report. But what has happened is unfortunate. His family has been deeply affected.”


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