TN Prof held for try­ing to lure stu­dents into flesh trade

DNA (Delhi) - - INDIA - G Ja­gan­nath g.ja­gan­nath@dnain­

Chen­nai: Af­ter an au­dio clip of her lur­ing stu­dents into pros­ti­tu­tion went vi­ral, Nir­mala Devi, As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor with the Math­e­mat­ics depart­ment of the De­vanga Arts Col­lege was ar­rested on Mon­day in Virud­hu­na­gar, even as Gover­nor Ban­war­i­lal Puro­hit and Madu­rai Ka­ma­raj Univer­sity or­dered sep­a­rate probes in Chen­nai, Tamil Nadu.

The as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of the au­tonomous col­lege was ar­rested from her res­i­dence af­ter seven hours of drama as she locked her­self in­side the house when the po­lice reached there.

Based on a com­plaint lodged by col­lege sec­re­tary R Ra­masamy in Virud­hu­na­gar district, a case was reg­is­tered against Nir­mala Devi under In­dian Pe­nal Code (IPC) sec­tions 370 (Buy­ing or dis­pos­ing of any per­son as a slave), 511 (Pun­ish­ment for at­tempt­ing to com­mit of­fences pun­ish­able with im­pris­on­ment for life or other im­pris­on­ment), and Sec­tion 67 of the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Act (Pun­ish­ment for pub­lish­ing or trans­mit­ting ob­scene ma­te­rial in elec­tronic form).

The au­dio clip of Nir­mala Devi try­ing to per­suade her stu­dents to en­gage in giv­ing sex­ual favours to high-rank­ing of­fi­cials of the univer­sity had gone vi­ral on Sun­day, lead­ing to col­lege au­thor­i­ties plac­ing her under sus­pen­sion. Mem­bers of All In­dia Demo­cratic Women As­so­ci­a­tion (AIDWA) along with stu­dents staged a sit-in protest in front of the col­lege, press­ing the col­lege au­thor­i­ties to file a po­lice com­plaint in the in­ci­dent that hap­pened in mid-March.

Cit­ing me­dia re­ports of the im­moral hap­pen­ings in the col­lege at Arup­pukot­tai, Gover­nor Puro­hit on Mon­day or­dered a high pow­ered in­quiry by re­tired IAS of­fi­cer R San­thanam into the is­sue af­ter a re­port was sub­mit­ted by the univer­sity. “It is im­por­tant to in­quire into such mat­ters im­me­di­ately and with­out prej­u­dice, so that the guilty do not es­cape with­out pun­ish­ment,” the state­ment said. Ear­lier, the univer­sity has separately or­dered a probe by a five-mem­ber com­mit­tee into the in­ci­dent, while the col­lege also formed a dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee to probe the mat­ter.

In the 19-minute au­dio clip, Devi who calls her stu­dents af­fec­tion­ately as ‘Kanna’ (Dear) at­tempts to en­trap them to give sex­ual favours in re­turn for money and aca­demic progress. With­out us­ing any di­rect ref­er­ence to sex­ual favours, she in­di­rectly im­plies that as a teacher, she had sup­ported them till now aca­dem­i­cally. “Now an op­por­tu­nity is await­ing them to take their life to the next level,” she al­legedly said in the au­dio clip, point­ing out that they could earn money and it would be trans­ferred di­rectly to their bank ac­counts.

When the girls’ ap­peared to be un­in­ter­ested, she be­came in­sis­tent, say­ing that it was for “a per­son be­long­ing to a very, very high-level. You can con­sider it as a favour.” She also asks them to take their own time and get back to her in a cou­ple of days.

Nir­mala Devi

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