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MKU sex scandal: Suspended Nirmala Devi convicted over trafficking girls for sexual favours

Two other accused in the case - V Murugan, assistant professor at the MKU and S Karuppasamy, a former research scholar at MKU - were acquitted.
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 14:48 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 14:48 IST

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Chennai: A local court in Tamil Nadu's Virudhunagar district on Monday convicted Nirmala Devi, the suspended assistant professor of a government-aided college who was accused of luring four girl students to offer “sexual favours” for a top official of the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU).

The case sent shockwaves across the state in April 2018 after Nirmala, who was working at the Devanga Arts and Science College in Aruppukottai, mentioned during a phone conversation with the students that she was seeking the favour for a “Governor-level” official.

After she almost dragged the Raj Bhavan into the issue, the then Governor Banwarilal Purohit called for a rare press conference to dismiss the allegations and plead that he “never saw the face” of the accused professor.

T T Bagavathiammal, the judge of the Fast Track Mahila Court in Srivilliputtur, convicted Nirmala on the charges of attempting to traffic four college girls.

However, two other accused in the case - V Murugan, assistant professor at the MKU and S Karuppasamy, a former research scholar at MKU - were acquitted.

Nirmala was arrested on April 16, 2018, a day after an audio clip of her luring the girl students to offer “sexual favours” went viral on social media.

In the audio clip, Nirmala was heard asking the students to “grab the opportunity to do certain things secretly for a top official”.

The students were clearly “disinterested” in the “proposal”, due to which the professor sounded unperturbed and continued to convince them by flaunting her connections.

Though Nirmala was suspended from her post in the third week of March after the students filed a complaint with the college administration, there was no further action against her until the audio clip was shared on April 15, 2018.

The suspended professor was charged under Sections 370 (1) and (3) for a bid to traffic people and 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Nirmala’s arrest and her dropping the name of the Governor led to a major controversy with Purohit appointing a one-man commission headed by retired bureaucrat R Santhanam to probe into the issue.

At a press conference on April 17, Purohit tried hard to explain that he had nothing to do with the conversation between the professor and the girl students.

“I have not seen her (Nirmala) face till today. Nobody on this earth can level such allegations against me. I am a 78-year-old and am blessed to have my great grandchildren. It is nonsense, baseless and needless. Please remember that the Governor is above politics,” Purohit said.

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Published 29 April 2024, 14:48 IST

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