Two Indian men have been arrested after one was caught impersonating the other in order to pass an exam.

But it’s the manner of the scheme’s failure which has made headlines.

One of the men was desperate for a job at the railways in Vadodara, a city in the country’s northwest, Press Trust of India reported. Part of the process involved an exam, and before that, having to give a thumbprint as proof of identity.

For whatever reason, the applicant wanted his friend to take the test for him – so burned off his thumbprint with a hot pan, pasting it onto his friend’s thumb.

But it all went horribly wrong when a supervisor noticed the imposter kept putting his hand in his pocket, as if to hide something.

“When the supervisor sprayed sanitiser on his left thumb, the skin pasted on it fell off,” an official told the news agency.

Both have been charged with forgery, cheating by impersonation and criminal conspiracy.

An expert told The India Times the ruse would never have worked, since the process of removing the thumbprint would have “defaced” it.