In most deemed universities in Tamil Nadu, more than 80 per cent of the intake is from other States

The kidnap of an engineering graduate from Bihar, suspected to be a fallout of the admissions racket, is not the first such incident in the city.

There have been at least seven serious cases of bullying and extortion of students from North India, by their seniors in the deemed universities of the State, in the past five years. According to the police, colleges were told to submit data on their students, but just seven of the 29 deemed universities in the State responded.

Tamil Nadu has more deemed universities than any other State in the country. Since 2010, these colleges have been under scrutiny following the Central government’s recommendation that institutions with inadequate infrastructure and low academic standards be de-recognised.

In most deemed universities, more than 80 per cent of the intake is from other States. “At least 60 per cent of our students is from North India,” said a professor at Bharath University. A majority of the outstation students are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chattisgarh.

A few years ago, a third-year B.Tech student from Jharkhand, who was also a ‘recruiter’ for MGR (deemed) University, was attacked with clubs by a rival student gang from Satyabhama (deemed) University. “He was a recruiter and also an agent for the University. There is much rivalry between the students from various universities to get candidates from their States,” said an official.

Police investigations show many institutions pay current and former students to recruit freshers who are willing to pay hefty capitation fee for management quota seats.

“Inter-gang rivalries have sometimes led to gang fights when one group ‘kidnaps’ the freshers brought in by another university. Also, if a fresher does not pay the fees, the senior student who ‘recruited’ him is summoned,” said an official.

“These students act as agents and are paid between five and ten percent as commission if freshers refer their names. On an average, a senior student earns at least Rs. 20,000 per student,” said a professor in a deemed university. A professor of another deemed university said the problem was prevalent in most deemed universities and had only increased in recent years.

“Universities are finding it difficult to fill up all seats. So, they depend on students from other States. Also, admissions here go on till October, much after students have cleared their class XII arrears in other States. There is also no age bar in some universities,” said another professor.

“A ready database of students who have not graduated in many years, or those with records of ‘student booking’ might be useful,” said R.L. Krishnan, senior professor here.

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