Growing competition among private engineering colleges in Salem and Erode has turned lucrative for several students from Kerala, who help managements fill up vacant seats.

The increasing incidents of inter-gang rivalry among engineering students in the region are reportedly fuelled by the money involved in such transactions.

The death of Deepak Padmanabhan, 20, a second year student of Gnanamani College of Engineering near Namakkal, was allegedly a fallout of the gang wars reported from these regions. The youngster died of head injuries after he was hit by a rod hurled by a group of seven students who were chasing him in a car on National Highway 7 on Thursday evening.

Though Namakkal police have denied receiving any complaints in this regard, people close to the developments on the campuses confirm that senior students act as brokers and receive handsome amounts from the managements for bringing in aspirants from Kerala.

A parent of a student, pursuing B. Tech degree in a Namakkal college and hailing from Aroor near here, said managements offered Rs. 25,000 and above as brokerage for a seat to senior students.

“Even students who have graduated from the college are involved in the business. There are students who make more than a lakh during an academic year through commissions,” he said.

The managements directly request senior students to bring in aspirants. Students who help the managements often enjoy special status on the campus, and the authorities turn a blind eye to incidents of ragging and other violent acts they engage in.

G. P. C. Nayar, president of the Federation of Associations of Management of Unaided Professional Educational Institutions in India, said about 25,000 students from Kerala took admission in private engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka every year. He said the minimum eligibility aggregate in the general category as prescribed by the AICTE was only 45 per cent in Tamil Nadu against 50 per cent in Kerala.

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