Freedom 251: Ringing Bells ready to cooperate after police lodge FIR
Ringing Bells Pvt. Ltd., the maker of the Freedom 251, which it calls the world’s cheapest smartphone, on Friday said it will cooperate with any investigation into its affairs.
“We remain committed to cooperate with any government agency that may need to inquire our organisation for any reason or suspicion. We have already done so with authorities/agencies that have so required,” the company based in Noida in Uttar Pradesh said in a statement, citing Managing Director Mohit Goel.
A first information report (FIR) was registered on Tuesday against Goel and company president Ashok Chaddha under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the Information Technology (IT) Act on a complaint filed by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.
“I do maintain that we will deliver the most affordable quality products to our customers through our range of smartphones including ‘Freedom 251’,” Goel added.
Ringing Bells has promised to make the ‘Freedom 251’ available at a retail price of only Rs 251, a tenth of the price of budget smartphones currently available in the market.
Ringing Bells “launched” the product last month in the presence of veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
It distributed some “prototypes” of the product to the media which turned out to be Adcom handsets. However, the company maintained that the device has been developed “with immense support” from the government.
According to the company, ‘Freedom 251’ will run on Android 5.1 operating system and will sport a 4-inch qHD IPS display, a 3.2-megapixel primary and a 0.3-megapixel front camera.
However, doubts were raised after assessments of the viability of the handset found that such a device cannot be offered for less than Rs.2,300-2,400.
“In Freedom 251, as presented to several authorities and agencies, and explained at our various forums, we are able to price our product at lower than production cost due to innovative e-commerce cross promotions and we will complete delivery of the quantities as committed by June 30, 2016,” Goel said.
Ringing Bells had received 30,000 orders on the first day.
The rest of the customers for the first 25 lakh handsets were to be selected on first-come-first-served basis as the company received about seven crore registrations before the payment gateway crashed.
Later, the company decided to return the money to the customers who pre-booked the Rs 251 device on the first day of the sale.
The company said it planned to give 25 lakh handsets in the first phase before June 30.