An FIR has been filed against state minister Kapil Dev Agarwal’s brother and several others on charges of fraud after the photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were allegedly used on banners announcing the launch of a “swadeshi” mobile phone brand without their permission.
The case was registered at the Hazratganj police station following the accusation that the promotional material gave a false impression that the company had the backing of Modi and Adityanath. The InBlock phones by FESSChain, which is part of JaiTech India, were officially launched in a hotel here on December 22.
Senior police officials confirmed that the minister’s brother Lalit Agarwal, who runs an advertising company, has been named in the FIR. Another advertising firm, which is run by a leading Hindi newspaper, is also involved in the case. The newspaper’s general manager has been named in the FIR.
“The minister’s brother runs an advertising company and it is said that the founder of the phone company got together with the advertising company to promote the same. That advertising company then gave it to the newspaper’s advertising company. After the matter came to light, the images of the PM and the CM were removed…At this point, we cannot say that the concerned advertising companies did not know about the alleged fraud,” said a senior police officer here.
In a statement on FESSChain’s website, the company’s founder and CEO Durga Prasad Tripathi offered an unqualified apology, saying it was a mistake to use the images of the prime minister and the chief minister on the brand’s invitation banners in Lucknow without their permission.
Tripathi was not named in the FIR as his name was not known at the time it was registered. The businessman said while the phones were supposed to go on sale from January 1. However, it might get delayed because of the case.
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