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Watch out for 'rice pulling' scam

But how does the scam work? It involves a metal vessel, usually copper. The scammers claim it has been struck by lightning or that it is made of radioactive material, and so is of great value to organisations like DRDO and NASA. The vessel is also touted as having the magical power to attract wealth.
Last Updated : 09 May 2024, 22:09 IST
Last Updated : 09 May 2024, 22:09 IST

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In April, two men were arrested near Yediyur lake, Kanakapura Road, for selling ‘rice pulling vessels’. The police recovered Rs 70 lakh from them.

The scam is not new. It involves a trick where a vessel is shown to pull a handful of rice into it. The scammers claim the vessel can similarly attract wealth, or earn the owner a fortune when it is resold. In April 2023, a former police constable and two others were taken into custody for cheating people of Rs 4 crore by selling them a ‘radium beaming’ rice pulling vessel.

In another case in Jayanagar, a man lost Rs 60 lakh to the scam. It resulted in his mother taking her life. In Hyderabad, a realtor was cheated of Rs 3 crore after he bought an object the sellers claimed “fell to earth during a lightning strike”. 

Magical properties

But how does the scam work? It involves a metal vessel, usually copper. The scammers claim it has been struck by lightning or that it is made of radioactive material, and so is of great value to organisations like DRDO and NASA. The vessel is also touted as having the magical power to attract wealth. 

In the Hyderabad case, for instance, the sellers claimed that the object was special due to its ‘isotope radiations’. They convinced the victim the vessel would be bought by NASA or ISRO for a huge fortune, and even attributed the success of the Chandrayaan mission to the use of ‘rice pulling’ objects. 

“Usually the vessels are made with copper or some other precious metal like iridium,” says C K Baba, DCP South East. In his view, the scammers work on the lines of a Ponzi scheme.

“Most often, the person is duped by a trusted source, like a friend or family member,” he says.

The vessels are sold at prices ranging from a few lakhs to crores. Often the people who fall for this are uneducated, states Baba. “Our first priority is to try and recover the money lost,” he says.

Victims are conned into believing the lies through videos demonstrating the ‘magical properties’, and fake certificates from DRDO and other agencies.

Science says…

“There is absolutely no truth to the claim that some vessels have special properties because they are struck by lightning. There is no scientific evidence,” explains Nagesh Arlakuppe, secretary, Akhila Karnataka Vicharavadi Trust. 

DCP South Lokesh B Jagalsar says criminals use simple tricks to demonstrate rice being pulled into the vessel. “The use of magnets is quite common,” he explains.

People continue to fall for such scams because everyone wants easy money. “It’s not just rice pulling scams. There has been an increase in investment frauds making tall claims. If you come across an offer that promises you easy returns, it is definitely a scam,” he warns.

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Published 09 May 2024, 22:09 IST

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