NOIDA, India – Freedom 251 creator Mohit Goel has guaranteed the delivery of his smartphone products next year as long as he gets the full support of the government.
Goel, Ringing Bells Private Limited’s managing director, said on Monday that his company ensures the delivery of Freedom 251 handsets by March or April 2018 if the Indian government will help them fight off potential disruptions to their business.
Just recently, Noida police apprehended two local Delhi residents after Goel filed a First Information Report (FIR) on them. Noida Police Superintendent Arun Kumar said that the two suspects, 35-year-old Vikas Sharma and 40-year-old Jeetu, were detained at Dasna prison after the arrest.
Goel accused the two of failing to deliver an undisclosed number of Freedom 251 units despite getting paid beforehand. He then told reporters that Ringing Bells had already disbursed almost Rs 3.5 crore to the suspects, but the two “siphoned off” the cash and failed to hand over anything.
Goel himself was jailed for 6 months this year after customers and distributors indicted him of the same charges. He was recently released, and his company has resurfaced in the market on Sunday.
In February last year, Ringing Bells guaranteed a delivery of 2.5 million units to its patrons in June 2016. The company then received 70 million orders afterward before its payment system broke down a short time later.
Ringing Bells delivered 5,000 Freedom 251 handsets by July 2016 and had pledged to send 65,000 more to customers who had ordered via their COD scheme. The orders were not delivered, and so Goel was arrested and jailed on claims of fraud in February 2017.
Ghaziabad-based Ayam Enterprises filed the case, accusing Goel’s company of swindling them Rs 16 lakh. Goel’s business and reputation then took a hit as the company was alleged as a “Ponzi scheme” by online users.
With the arrest of Sharma and Jeetu, Goel was able to negate some of the negative publicity that befell his company. Goel said that the “fresh” arrests would prove his innocence to the crime he was accused of.
Goel expressed regret that the Indian government did not support his vision of providing all of the country’s citizens one smartphone each. He said that his “Make in India” and “Startup India” projects would have been successful if the authorities had backed him up.
Goel then said that some of his business competitors, who have bigger capitals than his firm, have already followed his business model and were successful in doing it. He asked for another opportunity to “come back clean” and fulfill his guarantee to customers by “March to April next year.”
Goel assured that he is solely focused on the project at this time and that he is not “planning anything else” until he delivers his promise.
Ringing Bells president, Ashok Chadha, continues to be in jail at the moment with the same allegations as Goel’s.
Freedom 251 was marketed as the world’s cheapest smartphone. It was released in India last year for an initial price of Rs 251. Ringing Bells announced that the promotional price was for a limited time only, with the regular price being Rs 500, which resulted in millions of orders that caused its website to crash.