Technology Mobiles and Tabs 20 Feb 2016 Telecom Minister ask ...

Telecom Minister asks Deity to probe Rs 251 smartphone scheme

PTI
Published Feb 20, 2016, 7:58 pm IST
Updated Feb 20, 2016, 8:49 pm IST
The ministry has sought a clarification from Ringing Bells for marketing its 'Freedom 251' mobile phone without a BIS.
Ringing Bells has comer under the radar of the I-T department and excise departments.
 Ringing Bells has comer under the radar of the I-T department and excise departments.

New Delhi: Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked Department of Electronics and IT Secretary (Deity) Aruna Sharma to look into the scheme of Ringing Bells offering a smartphone for just Rs 251.

This has come in response to a letter from BJP MP Kirit Somaiya. "The minister has received a representation from Kirit Somaiya and mobile phone manufacturers where they have expressed doubt about the veracity of this venture," a Telecom Ministry source told PTI.

 

He added that the minister has asked the Deity secretary to go into the whole issue and if need be, states' cooperation will be sought to find out more about the company.

Somaiya has approached a host of ministries, including telecom and finance, regulators Sebi, Trai, RBI, and state governments, raising issues about the company claiming to offer the world's cheapest mobile phone.

Under the radar of IT and Excise department

Ringing Bells has also 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.

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