CHENNAI: Hundreds of students who landed at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) here on Tuesday were shocked after learning that the internship programme that they had paid for was in no way connected with the prestigious institution.
The students had applied for the summer internship programme after seeing advertisements online. Applicants were instructed to make online payments, and an additional `8,000 if he/she required accommodation.
According to Anbazhagan, whose daughter was one of the duped students, Techizer India had promised that classes will be conducted by IIT professors. “They were using the IIT name, logo, etc, which led us to believe that it was a legitimate company,” he said.
“After seeing their advertisement, I called up Amrendar Pal, the head, and verified it with him. I made the payment online as required. On the first day on Monday, we had a good orientation programme where they introduced us to the course and other preliminary talks. But today when we came, the guards did not let us in and Amrendar wasn’t answering our calls,” said Veera Sai Raja from Hyderabad.
The company website did not overtly state that IIT-M was a co-organiser, though the students alleged that they were made to believe so. “We joined the programme only because we were led to believe that it was being conducted at IIT-M and it was organised in collaboration with the institution. When we found that it was not and the classes had been cancelled because of that, we did not know what to do,” said Yuvaraj from Vellore.
Based on the complaint by the students, Taramani police arrested three persons - Amrendar Pal, Vishal and Salman Raza - on charges of cheating and remanded them in custody. According to police, other than obtaining permission to conduct the programme in the IIT-RP campus, company was unconnected to the IIT.
Around 1,200 people had registered for the course. Police said the total amount collected from the students was around `35 lakh.
When contacted, IIT-RP authorities told Express that the research park allowed private companies to conduct workshops on technology. “We were told that this would be one such workshop and that is why we gave permission to hold it here. When we found that there was something fishy, we cancelled the programme,” said an official. Officials at the IIT-M, too, distanced themselves from the company, saying the institute will file a complaint against the company.