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Their claim proved to be a dud

Staff Correspondent
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Two persons had announced that a rock was a meteorite

The rock has been attracting huge crowds.— Photo: Prakash Hassan
The rock has been attracting huge crowds.— Photo: Prakash Hassan

Two persons who claimed to have discovered a meteorite near Channarayapatna could not provide convincing answers to back their claims, at a press conference here on Monday.

Praveen Wodeyar and Vijay Kumar, who claimed that a rock at Jogipura, near Channarayapatna, was a meteorite, later admitted that their contention was based on a “preliminary report”, which was yet to be confirmed.

Mr. Wodeyar, who claimed to have studied Aeronautical Engineering at Pune University, said G.R. Srinivas, a resident of Shantigrama in Hassan taluk, told him about the rock.

“I sent a sample of the rock to a private lab in Bangalore, and it was found that its chemical composition was similar to the meteorites found in the United States. That preliminary report is enough to call it a meteorite,” Mr. Wodeyar said.

Mr. Kumar, a postgraduate in English literature, who called himself an “amateur scientist”, said he led the team that studied the characteristics of the rock. Soon after they got the lab report, he requested Deputy Commissioner K.P. Mohan Raj to provide security to it.

Asked about the hurry to approach the media even before the rock was declared a meteorite by experts, Mr. Vijay Kumar said he feared that the widening of National Highway 48 could damage the rock. However, he had no answer when it was brought to his notice that land acquisition was over.

When Senior Geologist of the Mines and Geology Department C. Hanumantha Reddy wanted to know if institutions such as the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Indian Geological Survey of India had been informed about it, the reply was in negative.

Mr. Wodeyar and Mr. Kumar maintained that the country didn’t have an institution that could undertake a thorough study on meteorites.

Geologist H.M. Harish pointed out that though mica was not found among meteorites in India, that mineral was in abundance in this rock.

People had turned up in large numbers to see the rock after the electronic media played up Mr. Wodeyar’s claim.

Some of them even carried samples presuming that it had special qualities.

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