Houston, April 8, 2005
A visiting Indian scientist in a US university has
been held for allegedly stealing vials containing
DNA pieces of a tuberculosis organism and computer
discs containing research material.
Singh Lakshman Meena, 33, a research scientist at
the University of Central Florida (UCF), has been
made to give up his passport after spending nearly
two weeks in jail, media reports said. Meena was arrested
on March 22, two days before he planned to leave for
India, on charges of offence against intellectual
property, petty theft and obstruction by false information.
The UCF professor of Biology, Meena, who has been
on a year-long research fellowship at the university
sponsored by the government of India, was ordered
in court on Tuesday to remain in the Orange County
area and surrender his passport. The bail for him
was set at USD 3,500. The Dean of the Biomedical Sciences
Department of the University claimed Meena stole the
material and has to be held responsible. He said the
material could be used in bio-terrorism.
Meena has been accused of taking eight vials of cloned
DNA pieces from a tuberculosis organism that could
be used to develop drugs to fight TB, police said.