Indian police released pictures and video of the two scammers, a father and son, wearing silvery “space suits” after the two were apprehended over claims that they could sell “magical” copper plates to US space agency NASA.
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 which could be used to generate “electricity from thunderbolts, asking them to hand over more than $200,000.
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.”
Police say that in addition to the New Delhi businessman, the father and son may have got money out of up to 30 people across northern India. Their fake device was apparently based on rare copper “that had been struck by a thunderbolt” so that it could magnetize 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 police said that the pair, who employed actors to wear radiation suits and staged fake tests, had said they needed money to develop the invention.
The New Delhi businessmen became suspicious when promised experiments were repeatedly called off, mainly because of bad weather. He went to police and acknowledged he had handed over more than $200,000.It is not known how much the other victims paid.