If an ordinary mortal (OM) -- like you and me -- got caught for writing a book with tons of plagiarized material, and especially if the said OM remembered the shame he felt when he had to issue a public apology -- "This was entirely my fault; ... I am highly embarassed by this ... I sincerely apologise for this lapse" -- he would be extremely leery about wading into the muck surrounding the Inter-Academy Report on GM Crops.
If the OM also recalled the utter ignominy of having to withdraw a shitty report that he wrote (along with members of a committee he chaired) because of -- what else? -- its plagiarized content, he would refrain from saying citations are "trivial" -- especially in a report made to the people of his country on an important issue.
If the OM could not shut the f*** up, he would -- wouldn't he? -- at least muster all his courage and grace to say, "No comments," if a journalist sought his opinion.
But Raghunath Mashelkar is no ordinary mortal.
Here's the proof:
Raghunath Mashelkar, a former president of [the Indian National Science Academy], said that the presence or absence of citations is a "trivial" matter.
"Just as an 'op-ed' in a newspaper does not mention the names of experts the author spoke to while forming his or her view, sometimes committees and academy reports reflect a collective expert opinion and do away with citations," he told SciDev.Net.