The Crime Branch – Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) on Friday filed the preliminary charge sheet against assistant professor Nirmala Devi. It has accused her of attempting to lure four college girl students into doing some favours for higher officials of the Madurai Kamaraj University.

The 1,165-pages charge sheet was filed before the Judicial Magistrate Court II a day after the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday directed the CB-CID to file the preliminary charge sheet by July 16.

The Deputy Superintendents of Police M. Muthusankaralingam (CB-CID, Madurai range) and Karuppiah (Organised Crime Unit) appeared before the JM II, N. Thilageswari, and filed the charge sheet.

The CB-CID has accused Nirmala Devi of attempting to traffic the four students of Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai at the instigation of assistant professor with MKU, V. Murugan, and a former research scholar of MKU, S. Karuppasamy.

The trio have been charged under Sections 370 (1) and (3) (trafficking of persons) read with 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 354A (sexual harassment) of Indian Penal Code, provisions of Immoral Trafficking Act, Information Technology Act and Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.

The Aruppukottai town police on April 16, 2018 arrested Nirmala Devi after an audio tape containing a telephonic conversation between her and her four students went viral in social media, in which she is heard asking the girls to do “something” as expected by “higher officials of the MKU” in return of higher marks in their semester examination, money and also seat for them in MKU for pursuing higher education.

The tape also revealed that the girls showed no interest in the offer.

The case was subsequently transferred to the CB-CID and it arrested Murugan on April 24, while his friend Karuppasamy surrendered before a court the next day.

The case assumed significance after the name of Governor’s office was dragged into the scandal for which the Governor, Banwarilal Purohit, stoutly denied any involvement of his office.

He also ordered an inquiry by retired IAS officer R. Santhanam into the incident. The panel has already submitted its report to the Governor.

Meanwhile, the CB-CID had taken voice samples of Nirmala Devi to confirm that the voice in the audiotape was that of the assistant professor. The High Court has ordered the forensic science laboratory to submit the results of voice sample within a month.

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