DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant today washed his hands of the Freedom 251 phone, which has run into a major controversy with questions being raised over the company providing mobile handset at a dirt cheap price.
“This is not a Govt project. Make in India team has nothing 2 (to) do with this,” tweeted Kant, the outgoing secretary of DIPP which is the nodal agency for the ‘Make in India’ campaign. In an earlier tweet on February 19, Kant had said: “It’s not d (the) price of handset; its broadband connectivity & operational cost: Freedom 251: priced at Rs 251”.
On this tweet, some Twitter users raised objections as why a government representative of ‘Make In India’ was clarifying
on behalf of Freedom251 company, which has been embroiled in controversy since the launch of the smartphone.
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In another controversial turn of events in the Freedom 251 saga, Ringing Bells has been accused of “fraud” and non-payment of dues by its customer service provider — a charge refuted by the smartphone company.
Ringing Bell has on the other hand accused the BPO company, Cyfuture, of having failed in handling the huge traffic of customer calls. Noida-based Ringing Bells unveiled a 3G smartphone at Rs 251, taking by surprise industry players who raised questions over the possibility of such phone at the promised price. An equivalent model of the phone is available in market
for about Rs 3000-4,000.
However, the company received a huge response from customers on the first day of opening of registration for the promised smartphone leading to crash of its website. The company claims to have received bookings from about 30,000 people and over registration by 7 crore people.
The Telecom Ministry is also keeping a close watch over the development with Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying that the company would face action if it fails to deliver the promised smartphone. The online payment service provider of the Ringing Bells, PayU Biz, has kept money in an escrow account and will release it to the company after its ships the Rs 251 mobile phone.