Two men who allegedly swindled a doctor into buying an “Aladdin’s lamp” worth over £70,000 have been arrested in India, according to officials in Uttar Pradesh.
The doctor, Laeek Khan alleges he was fleeced by the pair – who not only tried to sell the hoax lamp but even pretended to conjure a real genie.
In a report published by the Guardian on Sunday, Khan approached police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh after he realised the lamp did not have any magical powers, as professed by 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 7m rupees (£72,000),” Amit Rai, a senior officer, told AFP. 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 said.
In his complaint, filed last Sunday, Khan said one of the men pretended to be an occultist and made a “jinn”, or supernatural figure, appear from the lamp, local media reported. But 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 said 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.