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Influential people trying to scuttle Freedom-251, alleges BJP MLA

india Updated: Feb 23, 2016 19:02 IST
Ranjan Srivastava
Ranjan Srivastava
Hindustan Times
Freedom 251

Freedom 251, India's cheapest smart phone from little-known Ringing Bells, has raised eyebrows across the world with its unbelievable Rs 251 price tag.(HT Photo)

A BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh has accused certain “influential people” of trying to prevent the Freedom 251 – the world’s cheapest smartphone – from becoming a success in the country.

Omprakash Saklecha, a member of the ruling party from Jawad in Neemuch district, is also a promoter of Ringing Bell’s affordable creation for India’s technologically backward sections.

“There are certain influential people who have control over the media too. They don’t want to stop the flow of our money to foreign companies,” Saklecha told Hindustan Times on Tuesday, without naming anybody.

Saklecha was here to attend the state assembly’s budget session, which began on Tuesday. His presence at a recent Ringing Bells event in Delhi to launch the mobile phone, costing just Rs 251, had triggered speculations with regard to his role in the Noida-based company.

According to the MLA, the phone manufacturers follow a simple economic strategy. He said that though the raw materials that go into the handset cost anywhere between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,200, the money can be recovered through mobile apps downloaded onto the device.

Saklecha said that if users download an average of 20 apps onto their phones every month and Ringing Bell is paid Rs 50 per app by the developers concerned, the phone manufacturer can earn as much as Rs 1,000 against them. Also, if seven crore phone owners shop for a minimum of Rs 200 through apps – as is the trend now – the company could recover the handset cost in one go, he added.

However, Saklecha said his detractors were bent on preventing the revolutionary cellphone from reaching the common man. Denying that he held a stake in Ringing Bells, he said: “I have not invested any money in the company. In fact, I stopped doing business 10 years ago and even closed down my factories. I only know the president of the company.”

Saklecha said that as many as 25 lakh cellphones would be delivered to customers between April and June, now that the income tax department and the telecom ministry have given clearances to the company.

The MLA said defence minister Manohar Parrikar could not attend the Delhi event because he was delayed at a cabinet meeting. The handset was launched by senior BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi.