TN professor who 'lured' girl students arrested

The accused, Nirmala Devi, was taken into custody after a day-long drama in which she locked herself in and refused to come out. Representative image.

A woman professor of an autonomous college in Tamil Nadu was on Monday arrested for reportedly luring four girl students to “compromise on their morality” to “give sexual favours to a top official” even as Governor Banwarilal Purohit ordered a detailed inquiry into the incident.

Nirmala Devi, associate professor with Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU), was taken into custody by police, after a day-long drama during which the teacher locked herself inside her residence and refused to come out.

After hours of high drama, the locks of Nirmala's house were finally broken with the help of her relatives at around 7 pm following which she was arrested.

Police booked Nirmala under sections 370 (trafficking of persons), 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonments) of the IPC and 67(A) (punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act) of the IT Act.

“She (Nirmala Devi) has been secured. We will produce her before a local court on Tuesday after completing the preliminary investigation. She has been arrested based on a complaint filed by the college secretary and principal,” V Mathi, Additional Superintendent of Police, Virudhunagar District, told DH.

Minutes after the arrest, Purohit, in his capacity as the Chancellor of MKU, announced that he has set up a high-powered enquiry committee headed by former bureaucrat R Santhanam to go into “certain immoral happenings” in a college without any prejudice so that the guilty “don't escape without punishment.”

In a bid to control the damage, MKU also constituted a five-member high-level committee to probe the allegations by the girl students.

Opposition parties quickly lapped up the issue to target the government and demanded a court-monitored probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The political leaders also wanted to know who was the “top official” and asked the government to ensure that his identity is disclosed and he is also brought to justice.

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

Though the students are heard expressing their “disinterest” in the proposal, the professor looked unperturbed and continues 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 forward movement on the complaint till the audio clip was shared on social media on Sunday.

The incident has come as yet another blot on the higher educational institutes in Tamil Nadu, which are already under a thick cloud of corruption with two former vice-chancellors of reputed universities being booked on graft charges.

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