As preposterous as the entire concept seems, the scandal continues to surface every now and then

The Rice Puller scam Conmen have made millions duping people with the magic metal
news Sunday, April 24, 2016 - 08:31

The rice pulling scam has been duping gullible citizens and superstitious businessmen for sometime now. In a recent case, an ex-army man was duped of Rs. 70 lakhs when three conmen sold him a “rice puller” vessel. The Delhi police arrested the accused - retired air force official, Tapeshwar Tyagi (53), Deepak Tiwari (36) and Naresh Kumar Gandhi (65) – on Friday following a complaint by retired Subedar Major Balraj Singh Parmar. 

What is the rice-pulling trick? 

It is supposed to be a magical device that has people scurrying around to secure one.  Swindlers’ claims vary slightly but here’s what is common – the rice-puller is an ancient artefact which made of copper and iridium and possesses astounding capabilities which include drawing grains of rice towards it. It is highly valuable as conmen claim its utility in nuclear reactors or aeronautics. Some con artists claim that the metal acquires these properties when lightning strikes it or that it falls on earth when lightning strikes, adding to its mystique. Superstitious businessmen are ensnared, believing it will bring them prosperity, while others but it for its value and mystery. The rice-puller’s price can vary from rupees five lakhs to rupees six crores.

According to a report this how the threesome - Tyagi, Tiwari and Gandhi - worked. Tyagi, pretending to be the Asia sales head of a France-based company which bought and sold ‘rice pullers’, told Parmar that the copper and iridium vessel was highly valuable, used by the American space agency NASA in satellites and for energy generation. Tiwari then convinced Parmar to buy the multi-crore rice-puller at a thorw away price and resell to Tyagi’s company for a handsome profit. Thereafter, Parmar was taken to Nashik where he met Gandhi, pretending to an ‘expert’ in certifying rice-pullers as authentic or fake. Parmar was then given a gold coloured vessel for 70 lakh. However, upon realising the fraudulent nature of the deal, Parmar filed a complaint in January, leading to the arrest of the suspects in Delhi. Read here.

The rice-pulling trick is not new.  A DNA report from 2009 talks about a similar fraud. What is striking is the absurdity of the claims by the conmen and the gullibility of their clients. While the conmen have ranged from holy babas to idol-thieving cops to organised gangs, the victims range from planters to businessmen and even a Karnataka politician! The latter especially, was left so humiliated after falling for the seemingly silly trick that it took him a while to overcome his “suffering” and file a complaint about the deal that swindled a whopping 6 crore of his fortune. Meanwhile, the ingenious rice-puller has caused plenty mischief too. In one case, brothers resorted to kill each other for it.

The fraud generally occurs in instalments.  One among the conmen normally meets a potential victim posing as a businessman transacting in the golden pot, complete with fake IDs and fake documents. After the victim is convinced of the properties and value of the rice-puller, the 'expert' or the 'scientist' takes over to validate the authenticity of the vessel. By this time, the victim is sufficiently ensnared to close the deal. The rice-pulling property is usually proven to the victim by cheap magic tricks after which the pot is sold and the conmen disappear with the money.

As preposterous as the entire concept seems, the scandal continues to surface every now and then, with people falling prey to its enchanting promises. So, the next time you hear about a heavenly gift of a golden pot which attracts rice grains, you have been warned. 


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