So Much for Charity! Indian Tech “Billionaire” Lifts Relief Images from US Firm, Claims As His Own

Coronavirus

So Much for Charity! Indian Tech “Billionaire” Lifts Relief Images from US Firm, Claims As His Own

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is urging the country to “go local” and here we have Indian businessmen who are even lifting images from foreign companies. Tech “billionaire” Arun Pudur has been called out for plagiarising relief-work images from an American company. Lucky Bucket Brewing, a beer company, has said that a tech billionaire from India lifted photos from their Twitter account and claimed that he was distributing hand sanitisers to local orphanages.

In a tweet on Sunday, Pudur shared images of hand sanitisers on Twitter and said, “We converted one of our factories to manufacture hand sanitisers and distributed them for free in nursing homes, nursing homes, & orphanages of all faiths. Sanatana Dharma doesn’t discriminate against anyone. The lies being spread are now getting a reply. Leave all in peace.”

The images were all lifted from Lucky Bucket Brewing’s Twitter account from early April, as pointed out by Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of Alt News.

When questioned by a few users online, Pudur started blocking people and playing victim. When journalist Abhishek Baxi pinged him for a clarification, he said he’d DM him but instead blocked Baxi and started retweeting some of his tweets from as far back as 2007. All the retweets were meant to insinuate that the journalist was anti-Hindu.

Some even pointed to a profile of Pudur by Forbes from July 2016, where the website has alleged that his tech fortune may be largely fiction, and dubbed him as a “wannabe billionaire”. According to the publication, “FORBES ASIA e-mailed 25 people on a list supplied by Pudur Corp. of customers, distributor-partners and business associates. None of those who responded corroborated the supposed scale of his operation. Nearly half used Gmail, Yahoo or other personal e-mail addresses instead of company or official addresses. Some did not turn up in online searches and were invisible on professional networks such as LinkedIn and CrunchBase.” Forbes has been tracking the world’s billionaires since 1987 and has never included him on their annual list.

Everything about Pudur, from his business to his “humanitarian effort” screams, “Golmaal hai bhai sab golmaal hai.”

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