Chennai, Sept. 17: A senior university professor has been suspended without “any formal enquiry” for a “controversial” reference to Jayalalithaa in a post-graduate text.
S. Jeyaprakasam, head of the Gandhian Studies department at the Madurai Kamaraj University, was served a suspension order on Monday. The professor has been accused of making the offending remarks about the chief minister and her friend . Sasikala in a post-graduate correspondence course lesson.
The action against Jeyaprakasam has left academic circles in Tamil Nadu shocked.
The professor allegedly made “erroneous and defamatory” statements regarding the jewels, footwear and clothes “seized” from Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence here during raids conducted by the state directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption under the previous DMK regime.
Sources said a reference was made to the alleged seizure during the 1996 raid while comparing the “Gandhian approach to development and the modern consumerist lifestyle”. A “phrase” was used along with the reference to the raid, the sources said, declining to elaborate little more than that the phrase could be termed “objectionable”.
The controversial reference, which university authorities say is “ill-motivated, baseless, erroneous and not relevant to the context”, was reportedly included in the course material for the paper titled “Gandhian Approach to Science, Technology and Development” during the 1997-98 academic year.
On being questioned about the remarks, Jeyaprakasam said he regretted the “error” and said they should be deleted.
A disproportionate wealth case against Jayalalithaa and Sasikala is continuing and DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan has petitioned the Supreme Court to transfer the case to a court outside Tamil Nadu.
A source at the university department said: “The university has placed him (Jeyaprakasam) under suspension and he has not been coming to the department from yesterday.”
Reached for his comments over telephone this evening, the professor would only say: “I do not wish to say anything for personal reasons.” Asked if would move court against the suspension, he said: “I want to abstain from saying anything now.”
L. Thara Bhai of the Sociology department, who was university registrar till yesterday, would not comment on the order. She merely said that Azhagappan had taken over as registrar from today.