27-year-old Indian, Arun P. Vijayakumar had been selected to join the US space agency NASA after it relaxed its citizenship conditions, impressed with his knowledge and patriotism.
Hoax or Fact:
The message doing rounds among news outlets and social media states that Arun P. Vijayakumar, a 27-year-old Indian has impressed NASA with his knowledge and patriotism, and that he had been selected to join the US space agency after it relaxed its citizenship conditions. The claims of Arun are hoax!
Arun P. Vijayakumar (27) is a native of Manimala area in Kottayam district of Kerala, India, who tricked everyone into thinking he is closely associated with the US space agency NASA and was on his way to be a top scientist there.
In 2012, Arun claimed he got admission into Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for PhD, and is a doctoral fellow doing research under Dr. Barbara Lesko in learning theory. Described as a "news personality" on his Facebook page, he said NASA is impressed with his knowledge and patriotism and he had been selected to join the agency after it relaxed its citizenship conditions. Arun also said he met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and he congratulated him for his intention not to leave India even though he was offered a job at NASA.
Shot into Fame
With the aforementioned claims, Arun P. Vijayakumar caught wide public attention, local media reports made him famous, and he was also felicitated by many. The news of Arun joining NASA went viral and his popularity picked up across India, after Indian newspaper The Hindu (thehindu.com) published an interview of him in September 2012, where he said he will be joining NASA as a research scientist, to explore “extraterrestrial elements with the use of remote sensing”. At the same time, The New Indian Express (newindianexpress.com) reported that “His dreams make a ‘contact’ with ETs” and that “lucrative job offers from three MNCs did not lure Arun”. More recently, in October 2014, Arun was even described by The Telegraph India (telegraphindia.com) as 'Patriot Nasa boy (who) turns hero'.
Arun P. Vijayakumar told the press that he got in contact with US organizations when he was studying M.Tech at Bhopal National Institute of Technology after finishing his B.Tech from an engineering college in Poonjar.
As mentioned above, with his false stories, Arun tricked the Indian media for two years. His false identity was busted by ‘Netizen police,’ a Facebook group initiative by the Kerala police department, after getting an input from a reporter. Some members of the Netizen Police visited the MIT, conducted an inquiry and disproved the claims made by Arun. After the disclosure, the NASA fraudster untied bundle of lies to Deccan Chronicle (deccanchronicle.com), confessing that all his claims were blatant lies spread by him.
Arun was working as a lecturer at Royal University of Bhutan between July 2013 and July 2014, the time he claimed he was doing his research at MIT. He has not been in the US so far for any NASA project. Police officers said Arun lacks a legitimate social profile on internet, and that the intention of Arun was only to gain fame.