Following accusations about plagiarism, Ernst & Young of India has withdrawn the rapid environmental impact assessment report for a hydroelectric project. The report had been submitted to the client, Murdeshwar Power Corpor- ation in Karnataka, and to government authorities. Newspaper coverage alleged that the impact assessment of the project, which involves the construction of two dams close to the Dandeli wildlife reserve and the Ulvi bird sanctuary, was prepared in a hurry and had been plagiarised from the report for a different project over 140km away.

According to an official statement from Ernst & Young, the withdrawal of the report follows an internal investigation which established that procedures for the conduct and review of such projects had been breached by a senior employee at Ernst & Young’s Bangalore office.

The senior environmental engineer failed to gain the proper authorisation required for the initial acceptance, execution and review of documents as laid out within internal quality control procedures. This resulted in the submission of a substandard and flawed report to the client, prepared in an inappropriate timeframe, independent of Ernst & Young’s normal business procedures.

A spokesman said that the member of staff has now left the company and action has been taken. An independent team has been established to ensure that existing checks and balances are strengthened to prevent any further such breaches in procedure.

The company has expressed its regrets to all those concerned and says it is confident that the situation has been rectified and suitable procedures put in place to ensure it does not happen again.