Andhra University (AU) Arts College principal Prof Balla Appa Rao, was embroiled in a controversy over alleged sexual harassment of a research scholar. Following uproar over his behaviour, the government on Wednesday, issued a show-cause notice to Appa Rao asking for his explanation. He was given two weeks time to respond to the allegations.
Sources said, the government acted fast, following recorded evidence against him, including a CD which contained some explicit scenes of harassment submitted by a 49-year-old woman research scholar in October 2010. Ironically, the professor was selected as one among the three best teachers in the state in 2010.
The research scholar works in a Vizianagaram college. She complained against Appa Rao, her guide for the research work, to the AU vice-chancellor Prof B Satyanarayana and governor E S L Narasimhan in October last year. Sources said she submitted the CD containing Appa Rao’s conversation with her seeking sexual favours from her. Ironically, Rao is due to retire from service later this month.
Representatives of the women’s grievance redressal cell of AU inquired into the charges and found that the research scholar’s allegations were genuine. But the university did not take any action against him. Sources said the governor’s office had also directed the higher education department to take disciplinary action against Rao, as he had faced similar allegations in the past too. Some of the girl students also alleged that he had asked for money for clearing their Ph D work.
Meanwhile, Rao said, he was being targeted since he’s a Dalit. “Also, I am in the race for the AU VC post. Some powers do not want me to become the VC. So, they are making wild allegations against me, to besmirch my image,” he charged. Sources said Rao has a strong influence in the Dalit community in Andhra region.TOI