Police in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state have arrested two men who allegedly duped a doctor into buying an “Aladdin’s lamp” for $93,000 that they promised would bring wealth and good fortune.
Dr Laeek Khan approached police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh after he realised the lamp did not have any magical powers, as described in the popular folk tale about Aladdin and his wish-granting genie that appears when it is rubbed.
“The cheats had struck a deal for much more but the doctor had paid about seven million rupees ($93,000),” Amit Rai, a senior officer told the AFP news agency.
He said the men were arrested on Thursday and were remanded in custody ahead of charges being filed.
“The wife of one of these men was also involved in the fraud. She is on the run,” Rai added.
In his complaint filed last Sunday, Khan said one of the men pretended to be an occultist and made a “jinn” – a supernatural figure – appear from the lamp, local media reported.
Khan told news outlet NDTV.com that he met the men while treating a woman he thought was their mother. “Gradually they started telling me about a ‘baba’ (priest) whom they claimed also visited their home. They started brainwashing me and asked me to meet this baba,” Khan was quoted as saying in his complaint.
The doctor reportedly met the priest “who seemed to perform such rituals”.
But during one of his visits when Khan asked if he could touch the genie or take the lamp home, they refused, saying it might cause him harm, the complaint stated.
Eventually, they sold the lamp to him, promising it would bring health, wealth and good fortune.
Khan stated that he later realised the “genie” was actually just one of the men in disguise.
“The men have also cheated other families using the same modus operandi. The total amount of money involved runs into several million rupees,” Rai said.