If the accusations are proven true, Chetan Bhagat may join the ranks of Kaavya Viswanathan and Jonah Lehrer.

Not just Chetan Bhagat Three other high-profile allegations of plagiarism and fraud
news Books Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 16:13

Six months after its release, bestselling author Chetan Bhagat is embroiled in allegations of plagiarism for his 2016 novel One Indian GirlBengaluru-based author Anvita Bajpai has accused Chetan of using a similar “emotional flow” to her short story Drawing Parallels, published in 2014 as part of her collection called Life, Odds & Ends.

But the Five Point Someone author isn’t the first, and likely won’t be the last, famous writer to come up against accusations of plagiarism. Authors across the world have faced allegations that include stealing from other writers, fabrication and fraud — a humiliating prospect particularly when the book had achieved, or is on its way to, widespread fame.

Though Chetan has denied all allegations, a temporary injunction has reportedly been issued by a civil court in Bengaluru, which stops Rupa Publications from selling the novel. Anvita has posted on Facebook that she is filing a suit seeking a permanent injunction.

While we wait for the One Indian Girl controversy to play out, here’s a look at three high-profile cases of plagiarism and fraud:

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life

Kaavya Viswanathan (Image courtesy: YouTube)

In one of the most widely publicized cases of plagiarism, Kaavya Viswanathan’s debut novel in 2006 about an Indian-American girl was found to contain multiple passages with similarities — sometimes verbatim and other times gleaning language — from the popular young adult books Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty. Later, similarities were also discovered between Kaavya’s book and other novels, including Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret? Following the allegations, publisher Little, Brown eventually recalled all copies of Opal Mehta and declined to publish a second novel from Kaavya.  

Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer (Image courtesy: Knight Foundation) 

American journalist Jonah Lehrer was found to have self-plagiarized, the act of lifting portions of his own work without proper attribution, in blog posts for The New Yorker as well as plagiarized while writing for Wired. He was also found to have fabricated quotes from singer Bob Dylan in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works. The incidents resulted in losing his position as a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and the recall of two of his books by publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Imagine and How We Decide.

 A Million Little Pieces

James Frey and Oprah Winfrey (Image courtesy: YouTube)

James Frey had to face the wrath of none other than Oprah Winfrey after he admitted to committing fraud in his bestselling book A Million Little Pieces. Frey had pitched the 2003 book as a memoir that told the story of his devastating life as an alcohol and drug abuser. But it was revealed that Frey had fabricated parts of the book, which he had said was a true account. Before the allegations surfaced, Winfrey had featured the book as part of her popular book club. She even defended Frey after initial allegations were made. Winfrey ended up apologizing to her viewers and scolding Frey on her eponymous talk show for lying to her and avid readers of the book.  

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