Three men from nomadic Hakki Pikki community who have no formal schooling whatsoever however had a good understanding of electronics, using which they took for a ride many educated persons to the tune of lakhs of rupees.
They used the widespread, but erroneous belief that the king cobra’s hood carries a gem or a pearl called Nagamani which is supposed to bring wealth, happiness and fame to those who possess it. Such belief has also led to widespread killing of the cobra in Asia stretching from south to south-east Asia.
Three Hakki Pikki tribals convinced told their victims that the head of their village possessed a Nagamani which he wants to sell for mobilising money to construct a temple in the village. An ordinary crystal was placed in a jewellry box decorated with flowers in a room. They offered pooja to the crystal and began rendering invocations by switching off the lights of the room. A surreal ambience was created as they began to sing and dance in purported rapture. A few minutes later, the crystal began to glow. The customers were made to believe that the crystal was Nagamani and its glow was due to mystic powers.
The incident came to light when complaint was registered by one of their victims,
Ramesh, a marketing executive working for a CCTV company purchased Mantralaya Rudrakshi beads from Santosh and Raju from Hakki Pikki Camp near here. The duo had told him about the Nagamani and sought his help to sell it. Ramesh planned to purchase the gem and sell it for a profit later.
Ramesh came to the City last week to purchase the purported mystic jewel. Santosh, Raju along with their friend Prasanna came to the hotel room in which Ramesh was staying. They performed pooja by singing the invocations and when the crystal was illuminated, Ramesh was sure that it was Nagamani.
After much bargaining, he decided to purchase the gem for Rs 1.5 lakh and offered Rs 50,000 as advance. Later when Ramesh performed the pooja, the Nagamani had lost the mystic powers. He was shocked to learn that the illumination was due to the bulb installed at the bottom of the jewellery box in which the crystal was placed.
The bulb was switched on with a tiny remote control that fits in one’s pocket. The surreal ambience was created to divert the attention of customers. Police told Deccan Herald that along with Ramesh, a medical professional from Sagar and a PWD engineer from Bhadravati were among those cheated by the duo. The Hakki Pikkis have been arrested.