Chennai: While media reports, including those in Express, on Tuesday suggested that a probe had been launched into irregularities in the allocation of industrial quota seats at the Anna University, officials at the varsity claimed ignorance about any such investigations and termed the reports a “surprise”. However, most of them, while not ruling out the possibility of irregularities, said such a scam would be highly difficult to execute, given the checks and balances in the quota framework. Sources in the institution, who spoke to Express on Tuesday, said that the matter pertained to certain allegations raised in several quarters on the allocation of seats under the industrial quota, which was fixed at five per cent of the sanctioned strength in the various departments.
Officials said selection of candidates under the industrial quota involved several steps, including an application by the industry concerned that they were willing to sponsor a student, usually related to the company’s ownership. An inspection of the industry by a professor or group of professors followed the applications, where several parameters such as required infrastructure and if the core working of the company matched the stream that the student was opting for at the institution, is gauged. Based on this inspection, the official produces a report indicating whether the proposal could be accepted or not. Such reports produced on several companies are then scrutinised by a committee, which decided if the memorandum of understanding could be entered into with the company. “It is at this stage where the allegations are being made. It is argued that certain companies, which had suspect background, sponsored students to streams which had no connection to their workings. As per rules, this should not be allowed,” said a highly-placed source.
Also, there is confusion as to whether the quota is within the sanctioned strength in a department or over and above it. However, a recent decision of the Madras High Court, pertaining to admissions in the School of Architecture and Planning at the varsity, has clearly stated that the department should not admit “even a single student” above the permitted intake. Further, taking serious note of the allegations of a quid pro quo involving huge sums of money in admissions to these excess seats, Justice V Ramasubramanian had ordered that inquiry into the matter be made and the higher education secretary submit a report within three months.
Officials said such a scam would be highly difficult to execute, given the checks and balances in the quota rules.
Meanwhile, officials at the Directorate of Technical Education and the recently-formed Convenor Committee in the varsity, said no communication regarding any probe had been received by the institution. “If at all there is a probe, it is discrete as no formal communication has come to us,” sources said.