A BJP MP has filed a complaint against Ringing Bells, the company promoting Freedom 251 as the world's cheapest phone, for allegedly duping customers.
The FIR was filed under section 420 (cheating) in Noida, Phase 3 police station by BJP MP Kirit Somaiya against company owners Mohit Goel and Ashok Chaddha. He said the company produced misleading ads and used social media campaigns to misguide consumers. Somaiya even tweeted a picture of the complaint.
The complaint lists several points against Freedom 251, saying the phone cannot be priced as low as Rs 251. He accused the makers of misusing the tricolour as well in advertisements. It also used 'Make In India' campaign of the government to gain more traction.
— Kirit Somaiya (@KiritSomaiya) March 23, 2016
Somaiya has requested officials to freeze the accounts of the makers to save millions of rupees being collected as fraud. The FIR also points out that Freedom 251 is not yet registered with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
According to a Hindustan Times report Kiran Sivakumar, Senior Superintendent of police, Gautam Buddh Nagar said, "After primary investigation of the complaint, we found that it’s fit for an FIR. A case was lodged and a team was constituted to investigate the case". The police will investigate the documents of the company as well as manufacturing units they promised to sell to the consumers".
"We remain committed to cooperate with any government agency that may require to inquire our organization for any reason or suspicion. I do maintain that we will deliver the most affordable quality products to our customers through our various range of smartphones, including the Freedom 251," Goel said.
Recently, the Directorate of Enforcement began an investigation on Ringing Bells.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government is taking steps to protect the interest of the consumer. The government had also formed a committee under the Department of Electronics and IT (DeITY) on 20 February after the launch of the phone on 17 February.
Within some hours of the launch, the phone was in murky waters as the demo units given to the media had white paint on the phone and an Adcom logo was revealed once it peeled off. Adcom also said it will take legal action against Ringing Bells if their brand image is damaged. Early this month Ringing Bells even started to refund initial customers of Freedom 251 who purchased the mobile phone through the website.
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