An assistant professor of Devanga Arts College in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu has been suspended for allegedly attempting to lure four students into sex work. The news came into the public view when a telephonic conversation which was leaked online on Sunday. The college has set up an inquiry into the accusations.

A telephonic conversation of about 19 minutes reveals, Nirmala Devi, an assistant professor, telling the women on the other side about an “opportunity”. The identity of the woman has not been disclosed yet.

Nirmala Devi is part of the Mathematics Department of the college. She is heard saying “He is an official and they will be getting full financial and academic support.”

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Nirmala Devi also says, “On the academic side, I can take the four of you to a big level, I can assure you that. He is that big an official. I will make sure that your marks are not affected. You will get financial support and academic support also. I don’t know if you will tell your parents or not. We will open an account for you and will put money for you.”

She asserted that they are expecting the girls to do certain things ‘secretly’ for the senior official of the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU). The college is affiliated to MKU. She claims that MKU will turn out to be the backbone for the girls.

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Students seem to be rejecting her offer. One of them says, “We are not interested and not willing to talk about it further.” One student rejects it saying they are interested in doing government jobs.

Reacting to which the professor says for any such post you’d be needing political influence. She insists them to think again. She says, “You all just think again. I will speak to you next week. They have an important assignment next week and so there was a requirement. That is why I am asking now. Otherwise, I wasn’t planning to bring this up till you are in the third year. You won’t get another opportunity like this. You think about it again.”

Nirmala Devi is suspended from the college

The college students complained against her on March 19. College authorities further said that Devi was suspended on March 21, two days after the four final year B.Sc students filed a written complaint, The Hindu reported.

Ramasamy, principal-in-charge of the college says, “We took down the report and immediately contacted the professor. She was away for some course but she was made to come back to college immediately. We then suspended her and she remains suspended till now.”

He adds, “We don’t know who exactly the higher authority she is referring to is. We have to check the veracity of the complaint. She has to reply to the allegations and then an investigative committee will be initiated.”

Nirmala Devi says that the offer has been misinterpreted by the students. She admits it’s her voice. However, she denies that she has asked them to lure into sex work.

The Vice-chancellor of MKU said that this could have been an attempt to harm the reputation of the varsity. He also states that the professor has been asserting on the fact that higher officials were involved.

He has told The Hindu, “If we receive a complaint on the incident, I will direct the University Registrar to file a police complaint.”

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Deepali is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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