Offices of Madurai varsity VC, Registrar searched

By PTI Published on Apr 21, 2018 10:30 AM IST

File photo of Madurai Kamaraj University

Madurai / Coimbatore: The CB-CID officials have searched the offices of top officials of Madurai Kamaraj University in connection with the probe into a scandal where a woman college teacher allegedly attempted to lure students to extend sexual favours in return for higher marks.

In a related development yesterday, Higher Education secretary Sunil Paliwal said a committee has been set up to prevent recurrence of such exploitation of students and assured that all those involved in the scandal would be punished.

The scandal came to light when an audio tape of assistant professor Nirmala Devi's advice to students to "adjust" with some officials went viral on social media recently.

A report from Madurai said the searches were conducted in the offices of the MKU Vice-Chancellor P P Chellathurai and Registrar V Chinnaiah. The two officials were not present in the offices, it said, quoting the police.

The CB-CID police action came a day after the two officials were questioned by them.

The searches were aimed at gathering details regarding the work given to Nirmala Devi, assistant professor of a private college in Aruppukkottai in Virudhunagar district affiliated to the MKU, they said.

Nirmala Devi has been arrested on the charge of prodding students to extend sexual favours to university officials in return for higher marks and money and is now under CB-CID custody.

The police said CB-CID officials were interrogating the assistant professor after securing five days custody from a judicial magistrate court in Sattur.

COMMITTEE FORMED

Paliwal said the high-level committee, comprising the vice-chancellors of Madras University and Tamil Nadu Open University, was expected to submit its report in two days. "The guidelines would be formed in such a way to ensure that the relationship between the professors and students would be not misused and the relationship between the students and guides should only be related to academics and research," he told reporters in Coimbatore.

The secretary said his department came to know about the scandal on 15 April and immediately asked the college management to lodge a police complaint. All those involved in the matter would be punished, Paliwal added.

The alleged conversation between the assistant professor at the Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai, about 500 km from Chennai, took place a month ago. She was suspended pending an inquiry.

In the audio clip, she is purportedly heard advising girl students to "adjust" with some officials "for getting 85 per cent marks and money", a suggestion seen as asking them to extend sexual favours.

However, she had denied there was any sexual angle to her advice and claimed that she made it "in the right spirit" without any "hidden motive or agenda". As the issue snowballed into a major controversy, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chancellor of the university, has ordered a probe by a retired IAS officer.