Days after the so-called ‘drone boy’ Prathap NM’s fake claims of building 600 drones from e-waste and receiving numerous awards for them were exposed by OpIndia, he has landed in fresh trouble. According to a report by Deccan Herald, on Sunday Karnataka police lodged an FIR against him for violating quarantine rules to appear in a TV interview to respond to allegations against him, and also for going missing when police and health workers went looking for him.
Reportedly, Prathap NM had returned to Bengaluru from Hyderabad just a day before he appeared in the program on Kannada channel BTV on Thursday, where his fake claims were exposed more instead of being able to defend them. He had even flaunted before anchor Kirik Keerthi that he has come out despite being ordered home quarantine due to his inter-state travel a day ago, and had even shown his Home Quarantine sticker on the live TV show.
This violation of rules was not taken lightly by the state government, and based on his admission on TV, the Bengaluru Bruhat Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) filed a case against him. His appearance at the TV studio has been seen as a major violation of rules during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, because if he is found to be COVID-19 positive, everybody who came in close contact with him in the TV studio and elsewhere will be in risk. It is being reported that he is in high risk because he had come into contact of Coronavirus positive person.
After the telecast of the show, police and quarantine squad members went to question Prathap for his violation at his home in Anjanapura in Bengaluru on Saturday, but he was found missing. Moreover, his phone was also found switched off. His phone record showed that his last known location was near the Jnanabharathi campus in Kengeri, 16 kilometres away, Talaghattapura Police Inspector Ramappa said.
Police said they have formed three teams to track down Prathap. “Although his phone has been turned off, we have his call records and are now calling everybody on that list. They are cooperating with our inquiries,” Ramappa said.
After this, an FIR was lodged against Prathap NM at the Talaghattapura police station under the National Disaster Management Act. He has been charged with two offences, violating quarantine rules to attend the TV interview, and switching off his phone and running away to avoid being captured by quarantine squad.
Police said that Prathap will be placed in Institutional Quarantine at a facility after his capture. His punishment will be decided by courts as per law. If found guilty, he may face a jail term up to one year and/or fine.
During the interview on BTV on Thursday, Prathap had shown certificates he claims to have won for winning drone competitions in Japan and Germany. But both the organisations of the events where he claims to have won the awards have clarified that they didn’t organise any such competition and didn’t give any such award. While Prathap had refused to show any drone build by him, he had shown a photograph a drone on his smartphone. But German drone manufacture BillzEye – Multicoptersysteme has issued a statement saying that the drone seen in the photo is developed by them, and Prathap had visited an expo in Hannover, Germany where the drone was displayed and he had got photographed with the drone at their booth. All other drones seen photographs with Prathap as also clearly state-of-the-art drones made by various companies, and not made from e-waste.