MADURAI/VIRUDHUNAGAR: As an audio clip purportedly of an Aruppukottai private college professor allegedly attempting to lure a group of female students into prostitution went viral, P P Chellathurai, the Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, to which the college is affiliated, on Sunday said that the issue was an attempt to malign the reputation of the varsity and its officials. Meanwhile, the college claims that the woman has been under suspension since March 21. In the 19-minute clip now being shared on social media and WhatsApp, a woman identifying herself as a professor is heard telling a group of four women, alleged to be students, “I was approached with this ‘offer’ a while ago, but now I am being rushed into getting it done.
I am telling you about this offer based on the assurances given by the higher officials of MKU on the financial as well as academic support until you complete your fellowships.” Throughout the conversation the nature of the ‘offer’ is not made explicit but it has been alleged to involve prostitution. Devanga Arts College, Aruppukottai in Virudhinagar district has said that the woman is an assistant professor there but had been suspended after the issue first came to light in March. The college, said that the woman was an assistant professor there but was under suspension.
“The issue was brought to our notice by the four students on March 19 following which an inquiry committee was formed. Based on the initial inquiry, the woman has been suspended since March 21. Further inquiry will be held after the ongoing semester examinations,” college secretary R Ramasamy said. In the audio clip, the woman goes on to say that if case the students took up the ‘offer’, bank accounts could be opened and money could be transferred and that she did not want to discuss the topic until they completed their course.
The girls decline ‘offer’ stating that they did not intend to pursue postgraduate studies and that they would like to take up government jobs. In response, the woman says, “Even the post of a Vice Chancellor is obtained through political influence and you will be able to get through any government examination with ease upon agreeing to this.” Towards the end of the audio clip, the woman, who asks the girls to keep the conversation confidential, is heard giving them a deadline for their positive reply, despite them repeatedly declining the ‘offer’.
Attempts by Express to reach the woman for a response proved futile. Speaking to Tamil TV channels, the woman said that while it was her voice in the audio clip, the conversation was being misconstrued. Meanwhile, Chellathurai told Express that he saw the issue as an attempt to malign the reputation of the university. “This comes in the backdrop of the university constituting an inquiry committee at the level of syndicate sub-committee last month based on the complaints against the college management over misappropriation of UGC funds. The university will lodge a complaint against the college with the SP,” he added.