By no means met Nirmala; solely I’ve energy to kind probe panel, says governor in intercourse case

CHENNAI: As questions were raised about the Raj Bhavan instituting a probe into the case of a woman assistant professor allegedly asking students to offer sexual favours to higher-ups, governor Banwarilal Purohit on Tuesday defended himself saying he, as the chancellor of the university, had the authority to do so.
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He also denied having met Devi, assistant professor of Devanga Arts College in Virudhunagar district (a constituent college of ), whose purported telephone conversation with four women students has a reference to the governor. She was arrested on Monday evening after an audiotape of the conversation went viral on Sunday, more than 25 days after the students complained to the college authorities about the assistant professor allegedly trying to lure them into offering sexual favours to some higher-ups.

“As a chancellor of the university I have powers under subsection 4(a) of Section 12 of the Madurai Kamaraj University Act, which states that in any emergency which in the opinion of the VC required immediate action, he may take action with the sanction of the chancellor or prochancellor as the case may be,” the governor told reporters at a press meet at the Raj Bhavan.

On his name being mentioned in the tape, the governor said, “I categorically deny meeting the woman. During a university convocation many people come on the stage and it is not possible to remember each one. Those on the stage may later claim that they are close to me. All the accusations against me are baseless and nonsense,” he said.

The issue took a new turn when the Raj Bhavan ordered a probe by retired IAS officer R , hours after the MKU proposed to form a fivemember panel to investigate it.

‘Will ensure that guilty do not go unpunished’

Chennai: “The swift action was taken in an unbiased manner so as to ferret out the truth,” the governor said. “There is and there will be no attempt to shield anybody and it shall be ensured that the guilty do not go without punishment.”

He denied that the press meet was called to clear his name and said it was convened only to celebrate his completing six months in Tamil Nadu. “I am lucky to be a grandfather and a great grandfather. I am 78 years old.” The governor said he was ready to be quizzed by the probe committee.

The governor said several officials were always with him and even a bird could not come near him without their permission or knowledge. “It is not possible for the woman to state that she was close to me. He said on the issue of appointing a committee he need not consult the state government and on this he showed a book on Governor’s Guide authored by S S Upadhyay.

Stating that it is only a chancellor who has powers to appoint a committee to probe any issue regarding the university, the governor said Madurai Kamaraj University vicechancellor P P Chellathurai’s office has made some mistake with regard to constituting a panel to probe the issue. Soon after meeting the governor on Tuesday afternoon, issued a statement saying the proposal to form an internal committee has been withdrawn. “The university is keen that all details with regard to the incident be inquired without any bias,” he said.

Santhanam will submit a report by the monthend and it will be shared with the media, the governor said. “I assure you that strict action will be taken against those mentioned in the report. The former IAS officer has all powers to question any person, including the woman, even if she is in judicial custody. After the report is submitted, if required, we will even ask for a CBI probe,” saidthe governor.

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