After serving 11 months in prison, Nirmala Devi, the prime accused in the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) sex scandal case was granted bail by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.
Nirmala Devi, an assistant professor from Aruppukkotai Devanga Arts College, was arrested in April 16, 2018 on charges of attempting to lure four female students in extending sexual favors to some higher officials in MKU in return for better marks and financial benefits.
Audio clip went viral on social media
The judges directed her to fully cooperate with police in the investigation and barred her from giving any interview to the media that would harm the probe.
Earlier, her bail petitions were rejected by the lower court and the high court as well. Devi, assistant professor at private Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai affiliated to the MKU, was arrested on a complaint by the college and a women”s forum after an audio-clip of her purported conversation with students went viral on social media.
In the audio-clip, she was purportedly heard advising girl students to “adjust” with some officials “for getting 85 per cent marks and money”, a suggestion seen as asking them to extend sexual favours.
She was suspended by the college after an internal enquiry before her arrest.
As the alleged luring of the girl students triggered an outrage, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch CID within days of it being registered.
Male professors were also arrested
Based on interrogation of Devi, police arrested Assistant Professor V Murugan of the university and research student Karuppasamy for their alleged involvement in the case.
The two were granted bail by the Supreme Court later after the high court turned down their pleas.
The CB-CID had filed a 200-page final charge sheet in the case in the judicial magistrate court in Srivilliputtur in September last year. Earlier, it had submitted a 1,160 page preliminary charge sheet in July.
In the final charge sheet, CB-CID altered the charges to include offences of trafficking, sexual harassment and conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and also under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act and the Information Technology Act.
The fresh charges were included based on investigation, including voice test of Devi conducted at a high-tech laboratory in Chennai by police.
During the proceedings in the Judicial Magistrate court at Srivilliputhur, Devi had denied the charges and alleged police “coerced” her to give a statement.