Ringing Bells Director Mohit Goel has been detained by the Ghaziabad police following allegations of fraud by Ayam Enterprises. According to Ghaziabad-based Ayam Enterprises, Goel ‘defrauded’ the company of Rs 16 lakh.
As per the FIR filed by Ayam Enterprises, the company was approached by Ringing Bells to take up the distributorship of the Rs 251 smartphone – Freedom 251 – in November 251. A PTI report cited the FIR, which says, “We paid Rs 30 lakh to Ringing Bells through RTGS on different occasions. But it delivered us product worth Rs 13 lakh only. Upon follow-up, we could get products plus money totaling Rs 14 lakh.”
However, Ringing Bells is not new to controversies. Its promise of delivering two lakh units of the ‘world’s cheapest smartphone’ in November has fallen flat with some finding it hard to believe if the smartphone even exists. Ringing Bells claims to have received close to seven crore registrations for Freedom 251, and yet only 70,000 units have been delivered so far.
Let us take a look at everything that has happened so in the Ringing Bells saga:
Ringing Bells shut down?
A while back, rumours started to surface online that Ringing Bells is shutting down. But a Ringing Bells spokesperson denied any such report and issued a statement saying, “Some false reports are coming out in the media that Ringing Bells has shut shop.” The spokesperson added that they were “very well in the market” and “operating as earlier”.
Freedom 251 deliveries delayed
Ringing Bells struggled to keep up its promise to deliver Freedom 251 smartphones. Freedom 251’s delivery was delayed a couple of times, before the company finally decided to ship two lakh units in July. However, only 70,000 units of the smartphone have been delivered until now. The company claims to have made the Freedom 251 available in states such as West Bengal, Haryana, Himachal, Bihar, Uttarakhand, New Delhi, Punjab, J&K, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Ringing Bells website isn’t working
The Ringing Bells website has not been functioning for a long time now. The last time we checked in November, the company spokesperson said the site is being upgraded. However, this is the same reply we got back in September, when we checked about the site. We’re not sure for how long is the website in the updation process.
Ringing Bells CEO seeking PM Narendra Modi’s help
Ringing Bells CEO Mohit Goel sought help from PM Narendra Modi in order to deliver all 7.5 crore units of Freedom 251. Goel demanded Rs 50,000 crore from the government under the Digital India initiative in a letter to Modi. According to an IANS report, Goel in the letter dated June 28 said, “We have brought ‘Freedom 251’ which we offer on ‘Cash on Delivery’ terms but we have a gap between the BOM (Bill of Materials) and the Selling Price. We, therefore, humble request government support to actualise the objective to cascade the availability and usage of smartphones all through the far reaches of our great nation.”
Ringing Bells launches new phones, cheap LED TV
Ringing Bells launched several new devices, including Freedom HD LED TV in early July. The Freedom LED TV is being touted as India’s cheapest LED TV. Ringing Bells had said it will start deliveries of the Freedom TV from August 15, which of course didn’t happen. Ringing Bells other smartphones are called Elegant and Elegance. It unveiled four feature phones called King, Boss, Hit and Raja. It also launched three power banks starting at Rs 399.
Freedom 251 remains to be delivered to those who booked it online. Meanwhile, the company’s fate seems to hang in the balance with its Director being detained. Recent developments only reinforces the idea that Ringing Bells never meant to keep its promise of delivering Freedom 251. Sure, the initial hype around Freedom 251, has fizzled out, but we’ll have to wait and watch how things play out for the Noida-based Ringing Bells with this new development.