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College teacher 'lures students to sex trade'

Audio clips of the teacher talking to students went viral on social media

Chennai: With political parties demanding a CBI probe into the alleged attempt at sexual trafficking of college students by a professor, the Tamil Nadu Police chief ordered the transfer of the case to the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID).

Considering the importance of the case, the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP) ordered to transfer the case from Arupukkottai Police Station in Virudhunagar district to the CBCID, a government statement said.

On a complaint lodged by R. Ramasamy, Secretary, Devanga Arts College in Arupukkottai, a case has been registered against Assistant Professor Nirmala Devi over attempt to lure some students into sex trade, according to the statement.

On the other hand, the Madurai Kamaraj University said it had decided to scrap its proposal to set up a five-member committee to probe the alleged sexual trafficking complaint.

In a statement, Vice Chancellor P.P. Chellathurai said: "The university is keen that all details with regard to the incident be inquired into without any bias. Hence the proposal to form an internal committee in the university has been withdrawn."

"The high powered inquiry by R. Santhanam, IAS (retd), ordered by the Chancellor will commence forthwith for which the university will be rendering all necessary assistance," he said.

Based on the report from the university, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, in his capacity as the Chancellor, had ordered for inquiry by a high powered committee, the statement said.

Leaders of political parties, however, came down heavily on the committees set up by the Governor and the Vice Chancellor and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

PMK leader S. Ramadoss said committees appointed by Purohit and Chellathurai to probe an alleged sexual trafficking complaint were not legally valid.

Supporting the arrest of the female professor who allegedly tried to lure her students to extend sexual favours to top officials of the university in Tamil Nadu, he said only a CBI probe was justified.

It was on Monday that Governor Purohit and Chellathurai had ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter by the retired IAS officer, Santhanam.

But Chellathurai told reporters in New Delhi on Monday that a five-member committee had been constituted to investigate the case.

"Governor Purohit is only a Chancellor of the university. He does not have the power to govern or probe malpractices in the colleges," Ramadoss said, adding only the college management had the power to take action against a professor found to be misguiding the students to take a wrong path.

"A shadow of suspicion is on all the top officials of the university and hence Chellathurai can face an inquiry committee but can't set up one," the PMK leader said.

Ramadoss said the accused professor's mobile phone call records should be checked to determine others involved.

Nirmala Devi, who taught at the Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai, was at the centre of a storm after audio clips of her talks with some students suggested that they yield themselves to keep the "higher-ups" in the Madurai Kamaraj University happy, so that the college keeps getting facilities. The clips went viral in the social media.

Police in Virudhunagar district has questioned her so far.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin told reporters that only a Vice Chancellor of a university could set up an inquiry committee and not the Governor in the capacity of the Chancellor.

"It is not known why the Governor as the Chancellor acted in this manner. There seems to be some confusion. Only a high court-monitored CBI probe will bring out the truth," he said.

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