Days after OpIndia published a detailed fact-check on the claims of Prathap NM, who has been dubbed as the ‘drone boy’ and a drone scientist for making over 600 drones using broken mixer grinders and televisions, the 22-year-old Prathap on Saturday responded to the allegations to claim that he possessed all the certificates and documents to prove that he had indeed won various awards.
Earlier, there were reports and stories of how Prathap had won numerous gold medals in various drone expos around the world and later was invited to 87 countries. It was also reported that he was offered work by various governments apart from the Indian government, especially from PM Modi, who had asked DRDO to hire him. It was claimed that he had won three awards in Hanover in Germany in 2018, two at International Drone Expo and one at CeBIT Drone Expo.
However, OpIndia had reported in detail regarding the discrepancies in his claims of receiving so many awards for manufacturing drones.
In response to the fact-check, the Kannada media network Suvarna News had carried out an interview with the Prathap, posing questions to the young ‘drone boy’ over his claims and subsequent fact-check carried out by OpIndia.
Speaking to the media, Prathap claimed that he had indeed attended the 2017 International Robotic Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan, where he had used a concept drone to protect a human using thermal scanning technologies. He also claimed that he was awarded the Gold Medal for the International Robotic Award and said that he would present all the documents pertaining to the same in the next few days.
With reference to the Albert Einstein Innovation Medal he received in drone expo in Hanover, Prathap claimed that the medal was not part of the Hannover expo but a different expo. The ‘drone scientist’ also claimed that as these competitions were unregistered events, they did not have websites to record his achievements.
In the OpIndia report, it was found that there was no mention of his name in the award-winners list of any of the drone expo he had claimed of winning medals and awards for developing drones.
Responding to this, the 22-year-old ‘drone boy’ from Karnataka claimed that he will provide all the certificates, details of awards he received within next week by holding a press conference to prove that he had indeed received awards.
When the interviewer asked him about the absence of any evidence of drones he has claimed to have made from e-waste, he gave evasive answers. First, he accused that there are vested interests behind the OpIndia report. Then he said that he will not make the drones public due to intellectual property right issues, and thus refused to display the drones he has claimed to make, or give any proof of the same.
It is rather convenient that Prathap NM has won multiple awards and medals for making drones using e-waste from ‘unregistered’ organisations and events which do not have any website. And more conveniently, he refuses to show his drones citing intellectual property rights. It is also intriguing how he won awards for drones he had made if they are so confidential that he can’t show them.
Prathap was seen with drones of various companies at expos in Japan and elsewhere in the photographs, therefore it is indeed correct that he attended those events. But there as no evidence that he presented any drone made by him in those expos.