Crime
Police arrested 34-year-old Praveen from Sullia in Dakshina Kannada, nearly a month after a cheating case was registered against him.

A man who duped several women of lakhs of rupees by claiming he was a scientist from NASA and a child prodigy. The Jnanabharati police on Friday arrested 34-year-old Praveen from Sullia in Dakshina Kannada, almost a month after a cheating case was registered against him.

According to the police, Praveen, who claimed to be a scientist and inventor, allegedly duped 10 women into investing in his company Simply Science, which he started in 2013. Police say that he has been duping people since 2013 and suspect that more victims may come forward.

Through Simple Science, Praveen gained popularity by giving speeches and talks at science expos. He was even invited to speak at several schools in Bengaluru, police say.

“Praveen had invented one item - a four-in-one compass, which has all the four geometrical instruments in a simple box in one device. He would tell people he has been an inventor since high school and get them to fund science expos and workshops,” the police said.

According to TOI, Praveen had collected Rs 4 lakh each from 10 women by promising them franchise rights to Simply Science. However, the women allegedly neither received any profits nor the initial investment.

“The women believed him to be a NASA scientist. The women say that Praveen threatened them when they asked for a refund of their money. He told some of the women to fund money for workshops, which he did not even attend,” the police added.

Police say that Praveen had recently got married to a woman from Dakshina Kannada and had moved to Sullia.

Bengaluru resident Leela had initially approached Annapoorneshwari nagar police in September last year, but no FIR was registered. Later, she approached Additional Commissioner of Police West BK Singh, who directed the Jnanabharati Police to register an FIR.

“It was a jurisdictional problem. Simply Science is located in Nagarabhavi so Annapoorneshwari Nagar that Praveen had duped nine other women from Tumakuru, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Chennai as well," the police said.

“Praveen had agreed to return the money when he was summoned for questioning at Annapoorneshwari Nagar police station. Also, since it was not a jurisdictional matter, the police made him write cheques. But later the cheques for Rs 27 lakh bounced,” police told TOI.