How India’s ‘drone boy’ crash-landed

Prathap NM
From a high of fame, 'drone' Prathap had a hard crash as his claims of having built drones and won international awards were exposed | Image - Prathap Ravishankar

When Nektal Marimadaiah Prathap, or Prathap NM as he is popularly known, returned from an international Robot Exhibition (iRex) in Tokyo, Japan, in December 2017, there was a flurry of activities at his college, JSS College of Arts, Commerce and Science in Mysuru.

Hailing from a financially backward family and travel funded by the college management and his teachers, he had returned successfully. He said he had won a prize and showed his professors and college authorities a certificate and medals.

Buoyed by his achievement, the college administration issued a press release saying he had won gold and silver medals at the event and a cash prize of $10,000.

The next day, local newspapers such as City Today carried the youngster’s feat in a small column. But news spread around town soon. The college then held another press conference in February 2018 where its CEO introduced him to the media. The administration mentioned all his awards in the college’s annual report too.

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