The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday directed a lower court in Virudhunagar to complete, within six months, the trial in the case relating to the attempt to lure college girls to extend some favours for top officials of the Madurai Kamaraj University.

Nirmala Devi, an assistant professor of the Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai, had allegedly attempted to lure women students saying senior officials of the university needed their services for some “urgent work” and promised them financial benefits and unhindered academic progress in return. An audio tape of the conversation between her and the students had been leaked, leading to the registration of an FIR against her and subsequent probe by the CB-CID in the case.

‘Exceptional case’

Besides Ms. Devi, two others associated with the university were arraigned as accused in the case and arrested. Governor Banwarilal Purohit had ordered an inquiry by retired IAS officer Santhanam, whose report has been kept under seal on the directions of the High Court.

On Thursday, Justice G.R. Swaminathan dismissed a bail application moved by one of the accused S. Karuppasamy, a former Ph.D. scholar with the university, saying this was an exceptional case where the accused had to face trial while in jail.

The court said: “In our tradition, the place of a teacher is along with that of parents, above god. The safety of the college girls is of paramount importance.”

Taking into account the importance of the case, the judge directed the Forensic Science Laboratory to submit its report of the voice samples of Ms. Devi within 30 days and instructed the CB-CID to file a preliminary chargesheet by July 16 and a supplementary chargesheet by September 10. The court directed the lower court in Virudhunagar to complete the trial within six months.

All three accused in the case — the third being V. Murugan, an assistant professor of the university — are lodged at the Madurai Central Prison.

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