The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday granted interim relief to to India’s cheapest smartphone makers Ringing Bell Pvt Ltd — the Noida-based firm that created a buzz across the globe when it announced the mid 2016 launch of its Rs 251 priced "Freedom 251"smartphone in February this year.
Hearing the plea, the division bench of Justice B.K. Narayan and Justice Shashi Kant ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to present a status report by 5 April. It further directed the government that no coercive steps must be taken till then against the three prime accused in the case — directors Mohit Goel and Dharna Garg and president Ashok
A first information report was registered last week against Goel and Chadha under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Information Technology Act on a complaint filed by BJP leader and Lok Sabha member Kirit Somaiya.
The High Court directed the petitioners to submit their passport to the SSP Noida’s office within a day’s time. According to advocate Abhishek Vikram representing Ringing Bells, the petitioners will fully comply with the orders of the court by submitting their passport and will provide full cooperation to the investigation agency".
“We have nothing to hide. We are committed to (providing) affordable smartphones to people of this country and we shall achieve that. We will stick to fair practices and comply with regulations of our great
country," Mohit Goel, director, Ringing Bells, said.
"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," Goel
"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 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.
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 30 June.