Chennai: A professor at a Tamil Nadu college has been accused of tacitly asking undergraduate students to provide sexual favours to university officials in return for financial and academic rewards. The Devanga Arts College asked the police to investigate the matter after an audio clip, allegedly of her conversation with four undergraduate students, was widely circulated in the social media yesterday.
Nirmala Devi has been teaching maths at the prestigious college in Virudhnagar for a decade. The professor, who claims to be close to state governor Banwarilal Purohit, got caught when she dialled four students. In the recording she promises money and support to even research scholars in return for sexual favours.
In the recorded conversation, she is heard promising students "good support financially and academically". The students were advised not to inform anyone, but the caller said, "It is up to you if you'd do this with the knowledge of your parents or otherwise. If you tell, we can plan accordingly... we can open an account and deposit the money that comes in".
The lecturer was suspended by the college last month after the students complained about her with their recording. She has, however, denied asking for sexual favours. After a complaint was lodged by the college and a local women's association today, the police registered a case of exploitation and invoked the IT Act. The Governor, who is also the university Chancellor, ordered an investigation by a retired bureaucrat.
The state's Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters in Chennai that such "black sheep" cannot be allowed and assured that the government will take action against her.
DMK chief MK Stalin sought a CBI probe into the matter. "Since a teacher who has to impart education has tried to spoil the life of the students, the probe into the matter should be handed over to the CBI under the supervision of the high court," he said in a tweet.
"Bad apples are everywhere and in teaching too, they have crept in... There should be a thorough probe whether this is just the tip of the ice berg. If this happening at a rural area near Madurai, there could be many operating like her in the university's jurisdiction" said Professor Mohammed A Kalam, Professor of Applied Social Sciences, LIBA, Chennai.