TN sex for cash scam: Nirmala Devi convicted, two acquitted

A Srivilliputhur court found Nirmala Devi guilty of an attempt to traffic and acquitted V Murugan and S Karuppasamy.
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A fast-track court for women's cases in Tamil Nadu's Srivilliputhur, on Monday, April 29, convicted former assistant professor Nirmala Devi on charges of attempted sex trafficking of four girl students in 2018. Judge TT Bagavathiammal, however, acquitted two other accused - V Murugan, an assistant professor of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) and S Karuppasamy, a former research scholar at MKU. In April 2018, audio tapes were released exposing the attempt by Nirmala to lure four female students into sex work at Devangar Womens college.

The sentence for Nirmala Devi will be pronounced on Tuesday.

The issue, which sent shock waves across the state, had dragged in the office of the Tamil Nadu Governor. However, then Governor Banwarilal Purohit rejected any connection to the crime.

An audio clip between Nirmala Devi, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Devanga Arts College in Arupukottai, and four female students, in which she was attempting to convince them to provide sexual favours, had gone viral in 2018.

The prosecution has charged that Nirmala Devi had asked the girls to do something as expected by higher officials of the MKU and that in return, the students would get higher marks in their semester examination, as well as money, and seats in the MKU for pursuing their postgraduate studies. She had also mentioned the office of the Governor during this conversation.

The four students, however, lodged a complaint with the college authorities. Following this, Aruppukottai Town police arrested Nirmala Devi and the case was transferred to the Crime Branch-CID. The CB-CID, after an investigation, also arrested Murugan and Karuppasamy.

Nirmala Devi, Murugan and Karuppasamy were charged under Sections 370 (1) and (3) (trafficking of person), and 120 (B) (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code as well as under the Immoral Trafficking Act, Information Technology Act, and the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.

The fast-track court judge found Nirmala Devi guilty of an attempt to traffic, and under provisions of the Immoral Trafficking Act and Information Technology Act, while acquitting the other two accused.

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