Prathap NM, a resident of Bengaluru, was arrested on Monday for allegedly violating home quarantine norms.
Rohini Katoch, Bengaluru South Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), told TNM that Prathap was picked up by a team of police officials from Mysuru on Monday. He was placed in institutional quarantine in Bengaluru.
"He was supposed to be in home quarantine so he has been handed over to BBMP officials now. Once the institutional quarantine period is over, we will finish the arrest formalities. It is a bailable offence but he should first finish his institutional quarantine period of two weeks," Rohini told TNM.
Prathap had recently travelled from Hyderabad to Bengaluru and was directed by officials to remain in home isolation at Talaghattapura in Bengaluru. However, he violated the norms by leaving his house to go to the studio of a private television channel to give an interview. He was missing since Saturday but he was tracked down by police officials on Monday to a lodge in Mysuru's Mandi Mohalla area. His father convinced Prathap to cooperate with officials. He was using a different mobile number which was not registered with officials for the quarantine process.
Prathap is referred to in the media as 'Drone Prathap' for claiming to have extraordinary achievements including the claim that he built 600 drones at the age of 22. His claims were even published by many news organisations which stated that he had built 600 drones from e-waste.
However. he was in a controversy recently followin a television interview with BTV, where he showed a photograph of him posing with a drone as proof of his work when he was questioned by the anchor. This can be watched at around the 33-minute mark of this video.
A German company BillzEye issued a statement on July 17 that the drone shown by Prathap was in fact built by BillzEye and exhibited at CEBIT 2018, Hanover Exhibition Center.
The statement by Bill Gutbier, owner of Germany-based BillzEye, stated that Prathap asked questions about the drone and requested if he could click a photograph with the drone named 'BETH-01'. Bill clarified in his statement that Prathap had nothing to do with the design, development, manufacture or distribution of the drone and that it was constructed and manufactured by his company. He said that he can prove it by sharing many documents, Computer-aided design (CAD) files and photographs.
Prathap had earlier claimed he was awarded the â€śAlbert Einstein Innovation Gold Medalâ€ť at CEBIT 2018 held in Germany. Several news organisations reported this achievement without verification and are now making changes to their story after receiving clarifications from the organisers of the event.
There was another controversy after he shared a photograph on his Instagram page posing in front of a drone. However, upon examination, the logo of Japanese-based ACSL was visible. A Reddit user wrote to officials in ACSL to enquire whether Prathap was involved in building the drone. The user shared the response given by ACSL COO Satoshi Washiya which stated that the drone in the image was built completely in-house by ACSL.
Another claim which media made and went viral on social media last week suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had 'inducted' Prathap into the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The claim backed up by infographics created by fake news portal Postcard News was circulated on social media sites. Prathap himself admitted that this news is fake in a video posted on his Instagram account. However, he said that the news debunking his claims of building drones is also fake.
"I don't have any background and I come from a farmer's family. I know what I am. Regarding all the news stories, I will give answers along with documents at the appropriate time and place," he said in the video. Pratap has also insisted that he has made many of the drones himself.