Mired in controversies, Freedom 251 is probably not as free as you thinkPress Trust of India
Ringing Bells, makers of the world's cheapest smartphone, has come under the scanner of excise and income tax departments as debates around the feasibility of offering a Rs 251 handset rages on. According to the sources, the I-T Department is looking into the financial structure of the Noida-based company and have obtained documents, including those from the Registrar of Companies (RoC), in this regard.
"Yes, there was a visit from excise department and I-T Department. Since we are planning to achieve milestones under Make in India, Skill India and Startup India. They issued us some guidelines for future and extended full support and cooperation," Ringing Bells President Ashok Chaddha said in a statement to PTI.
Earlier this week, Ringing Bells launched the world's cheapest smartphone for Rs 251 amid great fanfare. However, the celebrations haven't lasted long as the firm was surrounded in controversy around showcasing a rival company, Adcom's handset, as its own. Chaddha clarified that "it wanted to show a sample or prototype of what the handsets will look like. This is not the final piece."
"In view of the shortage of time and given that these were to serve only as prototypes given FOC to a limited list of persons, we went ahead. We would clearly mention that the Final Freedom 251 manufactured/assembled in India would be to identical specs - i.e. no change," he added. The industry members have also complained against the company to the Telecom Ministry to dig deeper into the issue.
The ministry has sought a clarification from Ringing Bells for marketing its 'Freedom 251' mobile phone without a BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification and has also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to check the firm's credentials. The company said it has received 3.70 crore registrations on Day 1 and 2.47 crore on Day 2 (as of 1949 hrs).