The Chennai Police have arrested Sheejith Krishna, a Bharatanatyam dancer and former professor at the Kalakshetra Foundation, for allegedly sexually abusing two of his students during their time at the institution, reported The Indian Express on Thursday.

Krishna, 51, was arrested from his home in Neelankarai on Monday hours before he was set to travel to the United States, the newspaper quoted unidentified senior police officials as saying.

Two of his former students have alleged that Krishna sexually abused them when they were students at the institution’s Thiruvanmiyur campus in Chennai between 1995 and 2007, according to The Hindu. Krishna taught dance at the Kalakshetra Foundation between 1989 and 2010.

The Kalakshetra Foundation was declared as an institution of national importance and was brought under Ministry of Culture as an autonomous organisation by an Act of Parliament in 1993. The foundation receives aid every year from the ministry for its developmental activities.

Krishna has been accused rape on the false promise to marry, among other sexual offences, the newspaper reported.

One of the complainants had approached the Madras High Court in December after being encouraged by the student protests at the Kalakshetra Foundation’s Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts in March last year.

“One of them was seeking therapy from a psychologist in Chennai, with whom she shared the incidents of sexual harassment,” a police official told The Indian Express. “The psychologist suggested that she take legal help and directed her to a lawyer. They then approached the Madras High Court.”

The High Court in December directed ​​the police to look into the matter while maintaining the anonymity of the complainant and the accused.

Following this, the Neelankarai All Women Police Station launched a preliminary investigation into the case.

“We conducted inquiries with the complainants through video-conferencing and a case was officially registered in February,” a police official said.

Krishna has been sent to the Puzhal prison.

The development comes after 250 students at Kalakshetra Foundation had launched a protest in March last year demanding the dismissal of faculty member Hari Padman and three other staff members – Sanjith Lal, Sai Krishnan and Sreenath. All of them had been accused of inappropriate behaviour and sexual abuse.

The students had also claimed that the academy did not take action on complaints against Padman.

A first information report was filed against Padman after a former student complained against him at an All Women Police station. He was arrested on April 3 last year.

The Kalakshetra Foundation had also constituted a committee to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment.

Also read: Kalakshetra abuse controversy should force a rethink of power hierarchies in ‘classical’ dance world