Reading between the lines of your question, I want to suggest a slightly different perspective.
The lead data scientist's technical expertise wasn't checked during the interview (it turned out they didn't know how to use Linux, git, Python, never heard about concepts such as pull requests, never worked with a server before, etc.)
None of these are data science skills, they are more software engineering, development or DevOps skills. You mentioned in a comment that you don't consider yourself a developper but do you have a background in computer science? Or in statistics or another science? And what about the lead data scientist?
Most data scientists I know did pick up some of these skills along the way but it's entirely possible to be a data scientist without knowing much about Linux or git. I wouldn't say the same if you told us they don't know about linear regression…
[…] The lead data scientist decided to replicate my project, they made some changes, and they were successful in selling a fair amount of hot air to the senior managers about the need to improve and revamp my models.
You have given us zero reason to think that there isn't a need to improve and revamp your models. Worse, you talk only about it as code, focusing on the number of lines in functions, unit tests, etc. which suggests you do not know how to properly evaluate a model as such nor realize that data science isn't only about coding.
[…] In my view, it is not my duty as a junior coworker (who is at least one grade lower than the Lead data scientist) to review the code and modelling of the technical lead.
Is your company regularly conducting code reviews? Your question doesn't suggest it. Are you sure that's what you have been asked to do? If that's not the case, then all the advice about treating it as such, making a report about unit tests or code quality may be beside the point.
I feel annoyed about the existence of this twin project. Would I be right to complain about it, or is it normal in the industry to duplicate projects and step into other coworkers' shoes?
It's not unusual to try new approaches by building toy systems or demos outside of a production system. And in my experience code quality for these is rarely up to the standard expected for production code, especially when they are made by statisticians or data scientists, which isn't really the same job as that of a software developer or data engineer.
When did you learn about the project? How come you haven't discussed it with the lead data scientist earlier? Are both of you part of the same team or reporting into the same part of the organization? From your description, it sounds like a significant amount of work and something that took a bit of time to put together. Not discussing it sounds very odd, no matter the objectives.
If an experienced coworker was trying to improve on a system you have been working on, I would expect both of you to discuss subject matter or data quality insights, compare approaches, etc. without the need for you to decipher what they have done from their code. Even if they are more senior and not really interested in your perspective, I would at least expect them to share their main findings with you.
What's unusual is not the existence of this project but communication around it. It sounds like you have a very damaged relationship with a senior employee who is trusted by your management and that's an issue in itself. And instead of trying to understand their perspective or what may be a very complementary skillset you could learn from, you try to dismiss them entirely based on your perception of their skills and call their contribution “hot air”, which can only compound the problem.
Ultimately, the senior managers above the Lead are the ones who bought the Lead's hot air and authorized a cloned project (with or without being tricked into it, which is irrelevant), so they are responsible for the awkward situation, even more than the Lead.
Indeed, that project has probably been authorized or perhaps even requested by management. That may have been misguided but it does suggest that you may be fundamentally misreading the situation. Now, there is a lot we don't know and it's possible that there is nothing of value in the lead data scientist's contribution and that they really are incompetent. But it also seems possible that your frustration and resentment is blinding you to the reality of your situation.
Is management skeptical of the claims of the lead data scientist? You called it “hot air” twice but it doesn't sound like they see it that way. In other words, it seems possible that you have not really been asked to “review” their code to fix its style or check if there is anything of value. Instead, you may have been asked to learn from it to improve the performance of the system.
Why would management let the lead data scientist work on this, order you to review their code, or even take time to discuss any of this if there isn't some dissatisfaction with the existing system or some business benefit from the new approach? Unless “lead” is a fake vanity job title, they are presumably more expensive and busier than you are and there must be some reason they were assigned to work on this and not on anything else.
Conversely, why hasn't management asked the lead data scientist to guide you to implement their approach? Do they really expect you to challenge their work or simply to copy it? If they are in fact skeptical, are they trying to build a case against the lead data scientist through some sort of formal review?
Focusing only on technical excellence or best practices is a mistake I made as well when I was more junior but there are many other things that matter. Everything in your question suggests you haven't been kept in the loop of this project, are you sure you understand the background correctly?