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ICAR begins probe against GM scientist.

Researcher was awarded before he filed patent

THE INDIAN Council of Agriculture Research ( ICAR) has begun a formal investigation against one of its top researchers for various allegations including false claim he had made about a patent application relating to genetically modified brinjal.

The scientist, Dr K. C. Bansal, had claimed to have filed three patents for a novel gene discovery, including one on transgenic brinjal in 2007, based on which he was given the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award by the council for 2007- 2008.

Investigations revealed that while two applications had been filed, no application relating to Bt brinjal patent had been filed till July 16, 2009 when he was given the award.

The matter was first reported in M AIL T ODAY on October 29 and was subsequently raised by green activists in a letter to agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.

The inquiry is being held by a four- member committee of agriculture scientists and officials set up by the secretary, department of agriculture research and education, about a month ago.

It has been tasked with investigating into " complaints received relating to services performed by Dr Bansal as principal investigator of the transgenic project." Dr Bansal was heading ICAR's transgenic crop research project at its National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology ( NRCPB) when he won the award. Currently he is the director of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, which houses India's gene bank.

Besides the patent issue, the panel is also looking into allegations that he had not handed over GM seeds supposed to have been developed by him when he left the NRCPB to join the gene bank two years back.

A few sittings of the panel have already been held and a report is expected soon.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Dec 20, 2012
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