A private tutor who allegedly posed as a scientist with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and gave interviews to the media in Surat claiming he designed the lander module for the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission was arrested here on Tuesday, police officials said.
The accused, Mitul Trivedi, is in his late 30s and impersonated as an Isro scientist to draw more students to his tuition classes in Surat city, they said.
A complaint was lodged against Trivedi after he was seen giving interviews to the local media since the Vikram lander successfully made a soft touch down on the lunar surface on August 23, claiming to have designed the module of Chandrayaan-3, an official said.
Trivedi allegedly posed as the “assistant chairman” of Isro’s “Ancient Science Application department” and even produced a fake appointment letter dated February 26, 2022, to support his credentials, he said.
“A thorough investigation revealed that the man was in no way connected to Isro’s Chandrayaan-3 mission and had made false claims of being an Isro employee,” the police said in a statement.
He even produced a fake letter about being the “space research member” for Isro’s next project called “mercury force in space”, it said.
He spread fake messages regarding the Isro despite not having contributed to the ambitious project, thereby harming the reputation of the Bengaluru-headquartered institution, the statement read.
The Surat city crime branch lodged an FIR (first information report) against the accused under sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), and 471 (using forged document as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), it stated.
Additional Commissioner of Police Sharad Singhal said Trivedi is a private tutor who posed as an Isro scientist before the media to attract more students to his tuition classes.
“We contacted the Isro which said that prima facie the letter shown by the accused was not issued by it. The space agency will send a detailed reply to soon,” he said.
Asked why he posed as a scientist, Singhal said the accused runs tuition classes and making such a claim would have helped him attract more students.
“He claimed to possess BCom and MCom degrees,” the police officer said.