CHENNAI: Even as the retired IAS officer R. Santhanam is set to probe the circumstances that led the woman professor luring the girl students in Aruppukottai, the educationists said the committee could not bring out any truth as it does not have any statutory powers and demanded CBI probe to bring out the truth.
At the press conference on Tuesday, Governor Banwarilal Purohit defended the probe panel ordered by him saying both the probes by the CBCID and high powered committee could go parallel in enquiring about the sex scandal.
“The rare press conference held by the Governor which was aimed to steer clear the controversy has left many questions unanswered,” the professors said.
They have pointed out that the staff members of Madurai Kamaraj University have alleged that Nirmala Devi had stayed in the university after her suspension with the approval of some of the top officials in the university.
“But, the Governor has conducted the press conference along with the vice-chancellor and registrar of Madurai Kamaraj University. It sends out the wrong signal to the staff members who might be willing to speak out the truth in the case,” they said adding that the CCTV footage of the university should be examined thoroughly.
“The Governor should not have appointed this one man committee in the first place. He could order probe against only the vice-chancellors for whom he is the appointing authority,” said E. Balagurusamy, former Vice-Chancellor, Anna University. He is also not very optimistic about the high powered enquiry committee.
“Nothing will come out of the enquiry of Santhanam committee. Students and professors are unlikely to tell him the truth as the committee does not have any statutory powers. Even his recommendations also will not bring any changes as the Governor ultimately has to forward the report to the government to take action,” he noted.
He also seconded the demand for a woman member into the enquiry panel. “It is the very sensitive issue as it involves girl students and woman professor. The committee could have had a female officer as the head,” he added. “The CBCID enquiry by the government is the welcome move. Hopefully, they will conduct the inquiry without favour or fear. If they need any further probe, they can always order CBI enquiry,” he added.
“I think it is a wrong move on part of Governor to appoint the committee when his own name was involved in the case,” said M. Ananthakrishnan, former chairman, IIT Kanpur and former Vice-Chancellor, Anna University.
“Mr.Santhanam is a very honest officer and no doubt about it. But, nobody will tell him the full truth,” he said. “All the students registered for PhD are very vulnerable to manipulations. Unless the professor is a fair person, the students could be exploited in various ways including sexual favours,” he said.
He further suggested an appeal mechanism to be put in place in the universities. “The students have no recourse and they don’t have appeal mechanism to bring to the notice of higher authorities that they are being exploited or harassed. I think the first thing any university should do is to create a mechanism where the students are able to bring to notice this kind of exploitations,” he suggested.He also demanded CBI enquiry to bring out the truth in the sex scandal. “I don’t think the one man committee or CBCID probe will bring out the truth. Unless, it’s a CBI enquiry under the supervision of high court the truth will not come out,” he opined.
Professors also said the decay in educational institutions was set in two decades ago. “To get the NAAC or any other accreditation or approval the private colleges are using their faculty and girl students to do sexual favours. The entire practice is needed to be rooted out from the academic institutions,” they said....