Prathap N.M., the now-infamous “drone expert”, has been arrested by the Thalaghattapura Police for violating quarantine rules in Mysuru on Monday. He was applauded by many for his “achievements” but later landed in a controversy over the claims he made. Neither there were online records of his achievements nor were his scientific claims adding up.
On 15th July, he had recently travelled from Bihar to Hyderabad and moved to Bengaluru where he lives in his house in Thalaghattapura. He had been directed by the local administration to stay in home isolation for 14 days. However, on 16th July, with no regards to the regulations in place due to pandemic, he left his house. He went to the studio of a private Kannada television channel in Bengaluru. An interview was scheduled for him in that studio to counter the allegations against him for faking his ‘achievements’ after an extensive investigative report by OpIndia.
On 19th July, when health officials visited his house, they learnt that he was not home and his phone was switched off as well. The Thalaghattapura Police registered a case and formed three teams to arrest him. When police found that he was in Mysuru, a team from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Thalaghattapura police station reached there on Monday.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Prakash Gowda said that he was arrested from Mandi Mohalla in Mysuru and taken back to Bangaluru. Violating quarantine rules is a bailable offence. Police said that he would be released and sent to institutional quarantine. Action against him will be taken once his quarantine period is over. If found guilty by the court, he may end up spending up to a year in jail or pay fine.
In the last few months, Prathap was hailed by many channels, news portals etc. for his extraordinary skills of building drones from electronic waste. When OpIndia tried to confirm his achievements, it was established that things were not lining up. There was no photo or video available of the drones he made. All the photographs with drones appeared to be commercially produced drones by some of the leading companies in the field. His claims for the awards and recognitions were also found to be fake. He went to the studio to counter the expose, but he miserably failed to explain the basic science behind the drones.