The Tamil Nadu Police on Monday detained a professor of a private arts college in Virudhunagar district who was suspended for allegedly promising four female students academic and financial support if they did “certain things”, IANS reported.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit has ordered an investigation into the allegations against Professor Nirmala Devi of Devanga Arts College, The News Minute reported. Retired Indian Administrative Service officer R Santhanam will conduct the investigation.
Earlier in the day, students of the college staged a protest demanding that Devi and the officials she referred to be arrested.
The matter came to light only after an audio clip, purportedly of Devi’s telephonic conversation with the students, was leaked online on Sunday. Devi has denied the allegation that she was luring the women into sex work, The News Minute reported. Devi admitted it was her voice in the clip, but said the students had misinterpreted what she said
Devanga Arts College claimed it suspended Devi on March 21, two days after the students filed a complaint. Devi is an assistant professor in the mathematics department.
In the audio clip, Devi is purportedly heard telling the students of an “opportunity” to do certain things secretly for a “very senior official” of Madurai Kamaraj University, to which the college is affiliated. “For doing something successfully, they [the officials] are expecting college students for certain things,” she is heard saying. “I believe, being college students, you understand what they expect. If you accept this scheme, MKU [Madurai Kamaraj University] will be your backbone.”
She said: “On the academic side, I can take the four of you to a big level, I can assure you that. He is that big an official. I will make sure that your marks are not affected. You will get financial support and academic support.”
When the students are heard refusing the offer, Devi reportedly says: “You are small children. You need political influence to even get the post of the vice chancellor.” She asked the students to reconsider the offer within a week, and told them not to tell anyone about the conversation.
Madurai Kamaraj University Vice Chancellor PP Chellathurai said the controversy was an attempt to malign the reputation of the institution and its officials, The New Indian Express reported. “Any person can misuse anybody’s name,” he told The Hindu. “That does not mean it is true. If we receive a complaint on the incident, I will direct the university registrar to file a police complaint.”