Exploiting ISRO’s Name: Pune Farmer Loses Rs 1 Crore In Fraudulent Scheme

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Indapur, 5th September 2023: The success of two missions, Chandrayaan-3 and ‘Aditya L-1,’ has thrust India and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) into the global spotlight. However, disturbingly, reports have emerged of unscrupulous individuals exploiting ISRO’s reputation. In a recent case, a farmer in Pune fell victim to a fraudulent scheme, losing a staggering sum of Rs 1 crore to a gang of four who invoked ISRO’s name.

The victim, a 40-year-old farmer residing in Indapur taluka of Pune district, possessed a 250-year-old kashya (bronze) vessel with purported “special electrical properties.” The fraudsters, preying on the farmer’s trust, falsely claimed that both ISRO and NASA (the US Space Agency) were willing to pay substantial sums for experiments involving this unique artifact.

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The deceptive quartet spun a tale that attributed the vessel’s extraordinary qualities to a lightning strike. They further asserted that NASA and ISRO had earmarked budgets of Rs 200 to 300 crores for research on this remarkable object. Consequently, they convinced the farmer that the individual willing to invest the most in researching the vessel would receive the lion’s share of these funds.

Between 2014 and 2018, these unscrupulous individuals gradually extorted money from the farmer. They argued that scientific experiments on the pot required substantial financial resources, and despite holding a Master’s degree in science, the farmer reluctantly parted with his hard-earned money, even resorting to selling some of his land.

After extracting over one crore rupees from the farmer, the four fraudsters abruptly severed all contact, refusing to meet or answer his calls. It was only then that the farmer realized he had been deceived and promptly reported the incident to the police.

Dinesh Taide, the police inspector of Baramati police station, has identified the four culprits as Rafiq Tamboli (Lohgaon), Shiraj Sheikh Pansare (Kondhwa), Umesh Umapure (Latur), and Dhanaji Patil (Sangli). Following the arrest of Rafiq Tamboli, authorities are actively pursuing the remaining suspects.


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