Ringing Bells, the seller of Freedom 251 smartphone has hit another controversy. The Serious Fraud Investigation Office has sought to inspect finance books of company that touts to sell world’s cheapest smartphone at Rs 251.
Telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in Parliament on Wednesday that SFIO, which is under the corporate affairs ministry, has advised the Registrar of Companies (RoC) to seek information from Ringing Bells and its directors under Section 2016 (1) of the Companies Act and send a report through the Directorate of Enforcement. Under Section 206, the RoC can inspect books of a company.
The letter had gone out on February 26 after the corporate affairs ministry took suo moto action on news coverage and asked SFIO, through a February 11 letter, “to keep a watch on the activities of the company which appear to be suspicious”, Prasad said.
In Turn, the SFIO sent its research report along with a proposal to call for information from the RoC. For possible violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the company.
Apart from this, to review the issues related to Freedom 251, an internal committee was constituted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology on February 20.
“Ringing Bells was informed vide Deity’s letter dated February 22 that mobile phones have been mandated under ‘Electronics and Informatio Technology Goods (requirements for compulsory registration) Order, 2012’ for compliance to Indian safety standards effective September 13, 2015. Therefore, the company was required to comply with BIS registration based on Indian safety standards,” Prasad added. The minister said concerns were raised regarding the offer made by Ringing Bells.
The Indian Cellular Association (ICA) informed that a smartphone with the technical specifications advertised by the company cannot be manufactured and made available at such a low price.