RTI -KCB CR
RTI 2-KCB CR
Many of you would have heard of the several controversies around Dr Kailash C Bansal, a GM crop developer who then went on to be appointed as the Director of National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources. Two days ago, Mail Today (an India Today publication) reported about how Dr Bansal made false claim about one of the patent application (relating to insertion of a foreign gene in brinjal chloroplast) and how a prestigious award was given to him on such claims.
There are some irregularities reported in his appointment too, with another GM crop developer, an ICAR DDG Dr Swapan Datta, not acting on complaints against Dr Bansal.
Insiders also point out to some break away from regular guidelines within NBPGR since he took over, which could be termed as risky to the germplasm collections as well as favoring of the industry, though we are not able to provide more concrete details about this at this point of time.
Pasted below is a letter that we would be sending from ASHA to the Union Agriculture Minister, demanding for Dr Bansal’s removal from his post. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEND THIS ALONG WITH OTHER ORGANISATIONS/UNIONS JOINING US IN THIS DEMAND, AND IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ENDORSE, KINDLY WRITE BACK TO ME (email@example.com) with full name and organisation by the evening of November 2nd, Friday. Please do send a letter directly to the agriculture minister if you get to see this mail and would like to endorse after that. Thank you.
Mr Sharad Pawar,
Minister for Agriculture,
Government of India.
Dear Shri Sharad Pawar,
Sub: Demanding removal of Dr K C Bansal from the post of NBPGR Director, apropos media reports on false patent claims by Dr Bansal, based on RTI responses
There have been several media reports, apart from internal correspondence within DARE about the infractions of Dr K C Bansal, appointed to head a prestigious and important institution in DARE in India, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources. The latest is a report in Mail Today on October 29th 2012, titled “Top GM Researcher Falsified Patent Claim to Grab National Award” (available online at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/
Based on previous RTI responses and its own investigations, the report clearly points out how Dr Bansal made false claims about filing three patent applications for novel gene discovery including one on transgenic brinjal and was given the prestigious Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award in July 2009 based on such fictitious claims. This is outright scientific fraud and if a senior technocrat can make such false claims, how is the invaluable germplasm collection of this country being entrusted into his hands and leadership in NBPGR?
There are also reports about how the recruitment of Dr Bansal was done in violation of several guidelines that are in place for ASRB recruitments – this pertains to his Confidential Reports from 2004 to 2010 which were not handed over, despite these being essential for his promotion/selection to higher posts, in addition to questions on the selection panel apparently constituted twice over to ensure his selection.
What qualifies him to head an institution which is supposed to collect and protect germplasm wealth for the country?
There is also the unanswered letter from Dr P Anandakumar, (then superior officer of Dr Bansal and head of National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB)) on the fact that Dr Bansal did not hand over his research materials to NRCPB and the work on eight claimed GM events in tomato, mustard, wheat etc. This puts a big question mark on crores of rupees spent in the GM research work that he is supposed to have been involved in, and further puts a question mark on the ICAR transgenic research programme involving 20 institutes all over the country (with the budget exceeding 135 crore rupees).
We are attaching RTI replies as evidence to the allegations against Dr Bansal.
Just as the ICAR set up a 3-member committee headed by Prof Sopory for an independent investigation into the Bt Bikaneri Narma scandal, why is a similar action not being taken in the case of these allegations? Why is the extra favour being bestowed on Dr Bansal, if not as a payback for his extra support to GM technology, and hobnobbing with MNCs and industry associations?
We demand an immediate removal of Dr Bansal from his post for the falsification of claims on patent applications given that this is clearly unscientific and unethical. We also demand an independent investigation into all the other allegations against him urgently.
- Ramanjaneyulu. GV, Agriculture Scientist, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, firstname.lastname@example.org 09000699702
- Kavitha Kuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture