Mohit Goel, of Freedom 251 maker Ringing Bells, detained for fraud in Ghaziabad
The company, which had shot to sudden fame last February with this announcement, had witnessed a surge in pre-orders from customers anxious to get their hands on the smartphones. However, a few months into their sales operations, the company failed to deliver most of these smartphones to the customers.
While tensions had been brewing for a while, the alleged fraud was brought to light only recently, when Akshay Malhotra, of Ghaziabad-based Ayam Enterprises, filed an FIR stating that the Ringing Bells owed them a total of Rs 16 lakhs, and that the sellers had been making excuses for almost a year.
Goel and his team had convinced Malhotra to take up the distributorship of phones and other accessories for Rs 30 lakhs in December 2015. However, once the contract was signed, Malhotra noted a recurrent delay in the supply of the products that Goel had promised him. Later, he realised that the quality of the products that had finally come were extremely poor.
“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,” the company claimed in the FIR.
According to Malhotra, Ringing Bells refused to increase their pace and managed to draw together Rs 10 lakhs only after a prolonged period of absence. This sum was paid to Ayam Enterprises in two different instalments. Members of Ayam Enterprises also claimed that they were given life threats when they pursued the subject of repayments.
The FIR filed by Malhotra has named four other individuals who are all associated with the administration of Ringing Bells. According to Hindustan Times, these include present Managing Director Anmol Goel, Mohit’s wife Dharna Garg (former CEO), General Manager Sumit Kumar, and Mohit’s partner Ashok Chaddha.
The Ghaziabad police have also claimed that they had received several other complaints of fraud against Ringing Bells and would deal with them swiftly. For now, they have Goel in custody and intend to take him to court at the earliest.
“There were complaints of cheating against Goel. He had taken money from several people under the guise of providing them distribution agencies of his smartphone company Ringing Bells last year. However, he had failed to honour his commitments. We have arrested him and he will be taken to court on Friday,” said Deepak Kumar, SSP of Ghaziabad.
Suspicions around the company’s declaration of providing smartphones for Rs 251 had surfaced last year itself, when reports about the acceptance of pre-bookings without containing a manufacturing facility were first noted. At the time, they were made to refund the online payments through gateways, a move that surely was a big blow to the workings of the company.