This C&EN report by William G. Schulz is shocking (catch it before it possibly goes behind a paywall):
A CHEMIST IN INDIA has been found guilty of plagiarizing and/or falsifying more than 70 research papers published in a wide variety of Western scientific journals between 2004 and 2007, according to documents from his university, copies of which were obtained by C&EN. Some journal editors left reeling by the incident say it is one of the most spectacular and outrageous cases of scientific fraud they have ever seen.
The culprit, sources say, is chemistry professor Pattium Chiranjeevi of Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati, India. SVU conducted an investigation into Chiranjeevi's work after a journal editor presented evidence to university officials that the professor had plagiarized and possibly falsified several manuscript submissions. Chiranjeevi, who communicates through a wide variety of e-mail addresses, has not responded to multiple requests for comment by C&EN. [...]
CHIRANJEEVI'S PLAGIARISM of other scientists' work was discovered by Purnendu K. (Sandy) Dasgupta, a chemistry professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, and U.S. editor of Analytica Chimica Acta. He says a reviewer, a former student of his, pointed out that a Chiranjeevi submission on measurement of arsenic(III) was similar to a published paper from a Japanese group on chromium(III). In fact, Dasgupta says, but for the change in the name of the chemical being measured, the papers were identical.
"At that point, I was really mad," Dasgupta says. He says it upset him that Chiranjeevi is also Indian and that his university is located in a holy city in India. "I wrote a scathing letter to Chiranjeevi, and said I was going to notify his university that they should look into his Ph.D."
Eventually, Dasgupta did make contact with Duvvuru Gunasekar, who was chair of the SVU chemistry department at the time. And he probed further into Chiranjeevi's publication record. He found several instances of duplicate submission—for example, a series of four papers on how to measure selenium submitted to as many journals—and he began to question data reported in these and other Chiranjeevi articles.
Dasgupta queried Gunasekar on instrumentation in his department only to find that Chiranjeevi apparently made false claims. The instruments cited in his papers did not exist in the department, according to Gunasekar. He asked Dasgupta to make an official complaint in writing, which, along with a letter from Elsevier's legal department, triggered the SVU investigation.
According to Dasgupta, Chiranjeevi has proclaimed his innocence through all of this and threatened to sue him in international court. He says Chiranjeevi blamed persons unknown for submitting falsified papers under his name through e-mail addresses that Chiranjeevi did not recognize or use.
But the university's investigation, according to the SVU source, found that Chiranjeevi had used those same e-mail addresses in papers that he stood behind as authentic. "He was trying to throw blame on his students," the source says.
Worse, "he was charging students a fee to award them degrees," the source says. "He listed as many as 56 coauthors on his papers. There were complaints prior to the investigation, but nobody looked into it very seriously." He says the university does not seem to have taken disciplinary action against any students who worked under Chiranjeevi's supervision, even though some of them were aware of and participated in the fraud he perpetrated.