Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has ordered a “high-powered” probe by a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, R Santhanam, over allegations that a woman lecturer of a private college at Aruppukottai in Tamil Nadu advised students to “adjust with some officials” in return for higher marks and money. Financial Express reported that the woman lecturer was arrested Monday evening (16 April).
A press release from the Raj Bhavan said state Governor Purohit had set up the “high-powered” enquiry committee into “certain immortal” happenings surrounding the lecturer. The professor was alleged to have made overtures to some students a month ago. On Monday, the allegations resurfaced with an audio clip purported to be capturing the exchange between the professor and her students, doing the rounds on social media.
In the audio clip, the professor is heard suggesting that the girls “adjust” with some education officials for getting 85 per cent marks and money.
A complaint was filed last evening with Aruppukottai police by the college authorities and the local women’s association. The lecturer was then arrested under Indian Penal Code sections 370 (buying or disposing of any person as a slave) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences with imprisonment). A case has been filed under the Information Technology Act too.
The Governor ordered the investigation following a report from Madurai Kamaraj University, under whose control the college functions. “It is important to enquire into such matters immediately and without prejudice so that the guilty do not escape without punishment,” the Governor, who took action as the chancellor of the university, said.
The circulation of the audio clip on social media led to an outrage, with the state government and opposition parties criticising the lecturer, saying she was suggesting “sexual favour”.
Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told the media in Chennai that the government will take action against the professor, who is under suspension since last month after students complained against her. The professor has denied she had suggested “sexual favour” and said her suggestions were “in the right spirit without any hidden agenda”.
Government officials said the first round of enquiry was completed by three college professors and the professor was suspended based on their report. She has now been asked to provide an explanation on her advice to the students.