Two men dressed in homemade spacesuits claimed they had a deal with NASA and could generate electricity “from thunderbolts” but have been arrested for fraud.
Indian police tweeted a picture of the father and son duo wearing crinkly silver material and floppy topped helmets after a businessman complained he had been duped out of £156,000.
Virender Mohan Brar, and Nitin Mohan Brar, claimed they would be able to sell a device called the “rice puller” to NASA once it was ready.
They were confident and spoke in fluent English, police said, wore branded clothes and expensive watches and travelled in luxury cars with two armed security guards.
It is believed the pair duped at least 30 other people.
Mr Saini was allegedly told by the accused that he was paying for “anti-radiation suits” that scientists would wear during testing.
Deputy commissioner of police Bhisham Sing said the duo “roped in fake actors posing as Defence Research and Development Organisation officials just to convince Saini about the authenticity of the equipment”.
Already on bail accused of selling snakes with “medicinal qualities” for more than $25,000 each, the pair told potential victims they were developing a device that could be used to generate “electricity from thunderbolts”.
They promised it would be sold to NASA and India’s space agency for hundreds of millions of dollars, police said.
Images of the accused fraudsters in radiation suits alongside crime branch investigators were widely shared on Indian social media, where comments compared the duo’s antics to “a low-budget C-grade Bollywood movie”.
Their fake device was apparently based on rare copper “that had been struck by a thunderbolt” so that it could magnetise rice, police explained.
A copper plate covered in a thin magnetic liquid and rice mixed with iron filings were used to show off the machine.
The New Delhi businessman became suspicious when promised experiments were repeatedly called off, mainly because of bad weather.
As scams go this one is quite audacious though remarkably silly.
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