Telephonic conversation leaked online
An assistant professor of a private arts college in Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district was placed under suspension last month for allegedly “luring” four girls to get “certain things” done. In return, the students were promised both academic progression and financial support. College authorities suspended the assistant professor after the girls filed a complaint.
The issue became public after the audio clip of the professor’s telephonic conversation with the girls was leaked online on Sunday.
In the audio clip running for about 20 minutes, Nirmala Devi, a faculty members of Mathematics Department at Devanga Arts College, is heard telling the girls, whose identities have not been made public, that an “opportunity” has come for doing certain things “secretly” for a very senior official of the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) to which the college is affiliated.
“For doing something successfully, they [the officials] are expecting college students for certain things. I have not gone down to this level till now… By ‘certain things’ I hope, being college students, you will be able to grasp it quickly,” she is heard telling the girls.
Ms. Nirmala Devi could be further heard telling the undergraduate girls that if they come under this “scheme”, the MKU will serve like their “backbone” and ensure career progression up to the level of doctorate.
Though the girls, at different points, could be heard saying they were not interested, she keeps telling them not to decide hastily and instead think independently and clearly and tell her. She gives the girls three days’ time to decide. When the girls tell her not to talk about this again, Ms. Nirmala Devi seeks an assurance from them that they will not reveal the conversation to anyone.
While Ms. Nirmala Devi could not be contacted, she told a television channel that her intention was not bad and that the girls were giving a twist to the whole issue.
VC denies knowledge
College authorities said Ms. Nirmala Devi was suspended on March 21, two days after the four final year B.Sc students filed a written complaint.
Madurai Kamaraj University Vice Chancellor P.P.Chellathurai, denied any knowledge of the controversy.“I am hearing about such an incident only now from you. I do now know who Ms. Nirmala Devi is,”he told The Media.
On the reference about the “demands” being made by “top university officials” and offeres made to the students about better marks and other opportunities from the MKU, he said, “Any person can misuse anybody’s name. That does not mean it is true. If we receive a complaint on the incident, I will direct the university Registrar to file a police complaint.”
Stating that it was a matter of serious concern, R. Murali, former Principal of Madura College and State general secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Tamil Nadu-Puducherry), said that a police case had to be registered along with an enquiry by a highlevel committee constituted by MKU.