Mohit Goel of Ringing Bells arested

Founder of world's cheapest smartphone "freedom 251" arrested on charges of fraud

Mohit Goel, the founder of Ringing Bells, an Indian tech firm was arrested on Thursday afternoon in Uttar Pradesh on charges of fraud after a handset dealer accused the company of not refunding him for an unfulfilled. Goel will be produced in court later on Friday, said Rahul Srivastav, a police spokesman from the northern Indian state.

Goel and his company rose to prominence after the launch of  “Freedom” smartphone, which was priced at 251 rupees ($3.77), attracting a strong appeal from customers. The company, however, attracted widespread scepticism and scrutiny from regulators even in India where cheap smartphones are big sellers.

The founder was arrested after a dealer said he had paid 3 million Indian rupees for an order of handsets but had received only a fraction of the order. He further said some of the phones received were defective, according to the police.

The dealer claimed that when he pursued Ringing Bells for a refund for the unfulfilled order, Mohit Goel and another executive at the mobile phone maker threatened to kill him and his family.

Ringing Bells failed to comment on the matter.


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