Principal of Dr. Padiar Memorial Homoeopathic Medical College in Chottanikkara, R. Janardhanan, has been arrested from Hassan in Karnataka by the local police on Thursday for allegedly trying to dupe people selling a fake ‘rice-puller’. Two other Keralites, Raveendran and Mohammed Babu, were arrested along with him.

A ‘rice-puller’ is a copper iridium alloy that attracts rice grains, and is considered auspicious. Dr. Janardhanan and his associates were allegedly selling the fake rice-pullers for nearly Rs.2 lakh. “The arrest was made on the basis of a complaint by a person from Sakleshpur here. He had paid the first instalment for the item. He then got suspicious and alerted the police. We nabbed the three men when they came to get the second instalment,” said Hassan SP Amit Singh. But college trustee R. Gopinath Naik said Dr. Janardhanan had been present at the college on Monday. “He was on leave on Tuesday and we have had no communication from him after that,” he said.

Dr. Janardhanan is also accused of admitting students to the college illegally in 2012. These charges have been levelled against him both at the college and at the Kerala University of Health Sciences. “The university noted some irregularities in admissions at the college last year,” said Nisha Paul, Principal, Homoeopathic Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram.

“It is an aided college and 85 per cent are government seats to be filled through the entrance examination. The management does not have the right to admit more than the remaining 15 per cent,” she said. But during registration last year, the university found students admitted through methods other than entrance or spot admission. “The university refused to register those students, and proceedings are on against Dr. Janardhanan,” she said.

A teaching staff at the college said Dr. Janardhanan had been accused of making away with funds while handling staff arrears. Some of the women staff had also accused Dr. Janardhanan of sexual harassment. A case regarding the issue is pending with the Women’s Commission.