Admissions to Anna University under the industrial-consortium quota are under police scanner. According to university sources, the State police have begun a discreet inquiry into the alleged irregularities in admissions under this quota and are questioning various heads of departments and senior professors.

A top police official confirmed the ongoing vigilance probe but declined to give details and many professors confirmed that they were questioned. A top university official, however, said there was no such probe. “We are in the process of inspecting companies that can recommend candidates this year. It is only after that that we will fix the number of students who can be admitted through the industrial quota this year,” they added.

The police held their first enquiry in the month of April in the Academic Council Hall of the University. They asked professors involved in the process of selecting the eligible industry for cooperation and admitting students about the selection process and details of the special scheme. Many senior professors who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity said there were charges of serious irregularities.

Admissions through the industrial quota work in a specific way, and the probe is to see if the process is being manipulated. A senior professor explained: “A company approaches the university to sign a memorandum of understanding. Two senior professors are sent to the company and after deliberations, the department concerned gives its approval. The company then needs to pay the university Rs 15 lakh, to be used for improving infrastructure of that particular engineering department.”

Besides offering internships and placements to students, the MoU also offers the company a B.E. seat in that department. This ‘industrial quota’ is restricted to five per cent of the class strength, for instance, three seats in a class of 60.

However, the number increased to 10 or 12 in each class in the last few years. “It is also because all of them are put into the most popular branch. For instance, candidates from printing, manufacturing and production engineering are put into mechanical engineering. The total intake may be more or less the same, but it nonetheless amounts to manipulation.”

Another academic pointed to a strange case: “A firm involved in construction-related activities sought industrial collaboration with Anna University. Building experts inspected the firm and rejected it since it did not meet the university norms. Instead of accepting the opinion, the university sent a computer engineering professor to assess the firm. After receiving a favourable reply, the MOU was signed solely to facilitate one student’s admission.”

One professor pointed to a suspicious surge in admissions to Civil Engineering last year.

An academic who has inspected many industries and has been watching MOUs over the last three years said that in the past, MOUs were signed in the presence of the Head of the Department , senior professors and the Vice-Chancellor or Registrar. The department heads would know which industry had signed the agreement and which students were admitted in this category. “All this has changed. We are kept in the dark. No one knows how many applied under the MOU category, how many were selected and how. All we get is a consolidated list of students admitted in the beginning of the academic year without identifying those falling under MOU category,” he said.