Nirmala Devi, the main accused in the sex for cash scandal, was granted bail by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday. This comes more than a week after the Tamil Nadu government had told the High Court that it had no objection to Nirmala Devi being granted bail. Justice Dhandapani had granted bail observing that the investigation is complete, the chargesheet has also been also filed and government has no objection. The state government had, however, submitted that Nirmala Devi should not speak to the media while she is out on bail. This submission has been accepted by the court.
On April 16, 2018, Nirmala Devi, a former Assistant Professor in an arts college in Aruppukkottai, was arrested for trying to lure girl students to provide sexual favours to ‘higher officials’ of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) in exchange for money, grades and career opportunities. In the 19-minute long audio clip, Nirmala Devi can allegedly be heard telling four students of the college about ‘opportunities’ that await them if they agree to do an ‘assignment’ she was offering. She promised them marks, academic prospects and money if they took up her offer.
Earlier this year, the court had ordered an interim stay on the trial based on a chargesheet filed by the CB-CID, based on a petition filed by Suganthi, the General Secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). Suganthi had alleged that the investigators had not pursued leads on purpose to unravel who the big names behind the racket were.
She alleged that the CB- CID had limited the case to three people- Nirmala Devi, Assistant Professor V Murugan and former Research Scholar Karuppasamy. She had stated that CB CID has deliberately not questioned or revealed the names of people for whom Nirmala Devi was allegedly soliciting sexual favours from students.
During the hearing last week, the court had asked the TN government if Nirmala Devi’s life was in danger and the government had said there was no danger.
Murugan and Karuppasamy, were granted bail by the Supreme Court. However, Nirmala Devi’s bail application has been rejected multiple times by various courts.