Freedom 251: Ghaziabad court dismisses bail pleas of Ringing Bells’ former MD, accountant
A Ghaziabad court on Tuesday dismissed the bail pleas of Mohit Goel, the former managing director of Ringing Bells, and Sumit Kumar, the company’s accountant. Ringing Bells gained popularity following its announcement of producing the cheapest smartphones, at Rs 251.Updated: Feb 28, 2017 21:53 IST
A Ghaziabad court on Tuesday dismissed the bail pleas of Mohit Goel, the former managing director of Ringing Bells, and Sumit Kumar, the company’s accountant.
Goel was the first to be arrested and sent to judicial custody on February 25. The second arrest by the Ghaziabad police was of the company’s accountant, Kumar.
Goel is lodged at Dasna jail while Kumar was also sent to judicial custody on Tuesday. Their lawyers filed bail pleas before the court on Tuesday but these were rejected.
The accused were arrested following an FIR on February 22 by the company’s distributor, Akshay Malhotra, who had alleged that the company officials refused to pay back a pending amount of Rs16 lakh.
“Both bail pleas were dismissed by the court. We had argued that Kumar is only an employee and not a decision making authority of the company. The amount of Rs14.92 lakh, seized from him during a search, was not the money allegedly cheated from the distributor. He was in fact waylaid by the police while he was going to deposit the money in the bank for paying back the distributor,” DM Bhalla, the lawyer appearing for Kumar and Goel, said.
The defence also submitted before the court that Kumar was not the beneficiary of the amount. On behalf of Kumar, another defence lawyer, Gaurav Sharma, said that they have already paid Rs16 lakh to the distributor through RTGS transfer on Tuesday.
Further, the police had produced a letter they had seized from Kumar, from Cellular Operators Association of India, which they claimed was a forged document. It was a letter of authorisation to sell mobile phones.
However, the defence lawyers said that it was just a photocopy that was planted on Kumar by the police. The court also asked for the veracity of the letter but the investigating officer could not provide a satisfactory reply, following which the court cautioned the police not to gain ‘popularity’ in such a manner.
The court had negated sections of forgery and criminal conspiracy and had sent Goel to judicial custody only under sections of criminal breach of trust and cheating.
Kumar was also sent to judicial custody under the same sections, along with criminal conspiracy, on Tuesday.
Jitendra Deo, the joint director of prosecution, said, “We argued that the letter seized from Sumit was forged, based on which the distributor was also cheated by the company. We will get it verified. The letter was issued on an earlier date, even before Ringing Bells was registered,” Deo said.
“We also maintained that Rs14.92 lakh is a large sum and could not have been planted on Sumit by the police. It was also our contention that since Rs16 lakh was paid back to the distributor through RTGS, the accused proved that they were on the wrong side,” Deo said.
Besides Goel, the FIR lodged at Sihani Gate police station names the present managing director of Ringing Bells and Goel’s brother, Anmol, Goel’s wife, Dharna Garg, accountant Sumit Kumar and Goel’s partner, Ashok Chaddha. Garg had resigned from the post of the company’s chief executive officer eight months ago. Goel and Chaddha are now members of a new firm.
The company had gained popularity after it announced the launch of Freedom 251, the world’s cheapest smartphone, at a price of Rs251 per piece.
First Published: Feb 28, 2017 21:53 IST