The Allahabad High Court (HC) on Thursday said that ‘no coercive steps would be taken’ against the three executives of Ringing Bells (makers of Freedom 251 phone), after the court reviewed a complaint filed by Kirit Somaiya, under Section 420 (cheating), reports Livemint.
The three accused—Mohit Kumar, Dharna Garg and Ashok Chadha are top executives at Ringing Bells and were represented by advocate Abhishek Vikram during the hearing on March 30th.
“We have nothing to hide and have full faith in the judicial process. We are open to scrutiny by any government agency. The company remains committed to its promise of delivering the smartphone for Rs.251 by the end of June,” said Vikram.
FIR under Section 420: In late March, Somaiya filed a complaint against the company on the basis that it would not be possible to manufacture a smartphone at Rs 251, and that the company was fooling people. The police mentions that it had asked the company to submit documents for investigation.
Ringing Bells on the other hand defended itself and said it was ready to cooperate with the police. The company went on to assure that it would indeed deliver the product by June 30th this year. The company also mentioned that it would deliver other smartphones at different price ranges as well.
Specifications: The Noida-based company launched the Freedom 251 brand smartphone in February, named after its selling price of Rs 251 in February and started taking online bookings. At that time the company mentioned that Freedom 251 sports a 1.3 GHz quad core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal expandable up to 32GB and a 4” qHD 960*540p screen. It started
The company had started taking pre orders then and had reportedly received as many as 30,000 orders on day one. However, the same month, the company reportedly claimed to pay back the money it generated from the first 30,000 orders. At the time, the company said it would accept cash on delivery only, apparently to “ensure further transparency and clear any misgivings”.
Criticism: Doubts and criticism began surfacing, as many reports pointed out that the website used by Freedom 251 to accept online orders was not responsive, owing to the massive amounts of online orders flooding its servers. The firm then stopped taking orders on the second day of its launch.
Further, the extremely low pricing of the smartphone also got many news agencies unconvinced that Ringing Bells could create a smartphone at that price point. The company however, justifies that it’s possible to create such a cheap phone with economies of scale and tie ups for default apps that will bring in licensing money.
Note that telecom minister had also said that the government would monitor Ringing Bells and would take action if the company failed to deliver its smartphone. At the time, the I-T department was also looking into the financial structure of the company. Probably a definitive will be reached by June 30th—a deadline that the company mentioned regarding shipping of Freedom 251 smartphone.