A University of Madras history professor, accused of asking his M. Phil students to get him grinders, fans, pressure cookers and other household items a decade ago, in return for assessing their dissertations, has been acquitted of all charges “on humanitarian grounds” by the Syndicate.

In 2003, five students of S.Kuppusamy complained to the History department head that their guide was asking them to get him household items for clearing their dissertations.

Sought wet grinder

In her letter, an M. Phil student said the professor asked her and her friend to get him a wet grinder.

“As he delayed taking up our drafts for correction, we brought him a small wet grinder. But he replaced it himself with a bigger one. Now, he is insisting that we pay the extra amount too,” she wrote.

He demanded a pressure cooker from one student, while another complaint that he was dissatisfied with the pedestal fan he gave him, and insisted on cash too. From another, he wanted a 10-litre pressure cooker.

When the university suspended him pending an enquiry, the professor wrote to the Vice-Chancellor that he would “rectify the effect of his activities.” He apologised and asked the university to revoke the suspension.

The university ordered a probe. The enquiry concluded that there was no evidence for the main charge, but his apology indicated that he could have demanded some sort of gratification. It recommended denial of three increments.

Denial challenged

Prof. Kuppusamy challenged the denial of increment and promotion in the Madras High Court.

The university argued that misconduct had been proved.

However, the court ruled that if the university disagreed with the enquiry findings and wanted to pursue the matter, it would have to issue a fresh show cause notice.

The university issued a fresh notice to him. In a meeting held recently, the Syndicate’s Teachers and Research Departments Committee recommended the case be closed on humanitarian grounds.