Tamil Nadu

Professor 'luring' TN students brings higher education department under scanner

Sexual abuse Representational image

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has ordered a high-level inquiry into the case of a woman professor from a college in Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, luring girl students over phone to compromise on their morals to earn money.

Retired IAS officer R. Santhanam, who held several key posts before retiring as the chief secretary to the government, will probe into the controversial 19-minute audio clip, which brought to fore the scary scale of corruption and depravity existing in the higher education system in the state.

The accused has been identified as P. Nirmala Devi from Devanga Arts College (autonomous), an assistant professor of maths department. She allegedly tried to lure four of her girl students into offering sexual favours in return for money and academic progress, including high marks in the annual exams.

The audio clip, which had gone viral, leading to parents and women organisations holding a sit-in protest in front of the college, has sent shock waves in academic circles in the state. This, even as the

school and the higher education departments are reeling under various charges of under-performance after the death of J. Jayalalithaa.

In the 19-minute long audio clip, the professor is heard asking a group of girl students to to compromise on their morals in return for high marks in exams, and lucrative jobs thereafter. “You take time, think twice and decide. I am saying this for your good,” she is heard saying in the clip.

She is insistent when the girls appears to be uninterested in the offer. “It is for a very, very high-level person. You consider it as a favour,” she is heard saying. “To get some jobs done, the top officials in the Madurai Kamaraj University expect college students. You will understand things easily,” she adds.

She is heard promising to the students that some money will be transferred to their accounts and everything will be highly confidential. She is also heard saying that some top officials from the Madurai Kamaraj University have handed over the task after carefully examining her for months.

While clarifying about the audio clip, Devi admitted that it was her voice in the audio, but claimed that the students misunderstood what she said.

Devanga Arts College secretary R. Ramasamy said after receiving complaints from students, the college management suspended Nirmala Devi. He further said after hearing her version, the college will form a disciplinary committee to inquire into the issue. T

Meanwhile, Madurai Kmaaraj University has initiated disciplinary proceedings against her, besides suspending her. The higher education department is likely to initiate criminal action against her, sources said.