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Ringing Bells gets a tax call, buyers raise the red flag

Three members of the Income Tax Department reached the Ringing Bells office at noon on Friday. After the unconvincing explanation of the phone’s low price spurred suspicion on the company’s finances, an investigation was inevitable.

Freedom 251 smartphone Updated: Feb 19, 2016 23:43 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times
Ringing Bells,Income Tax,Freedom 251
Three members of the Income Tax Department reached the Ringing Bells office at noon on Friday. (Vinod Rajput)

A three-member investigation team from the income-tax department on Friday grilled employees of Noida-based Ringing Bells, which launched the world’s cheapest smartphone, Freedom 251, on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people who had booked the phone demonstrated outside the company’s office for the second day on Friday.

“Ghaziabad’s Vaishali income-tax branch has been asked to conduct an investigation into assets of Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd, which was launched five months ago. There is a complaint against Ringing Bells Company,” said an official from the IT department, who visited their office.

“We explained to the I-T officials what we are doing and how we are doing it,” Ringing Bells founder Mohit Goel said.

“I gave them the entire data of my company. I called them to explain my financial status. I had to explain to clear doubts created after complaints were lodged against us. They stayed for about an hour, collected data and left our office.”

Read more: What’s the catch? We answer your 10 interesting questions on Freedom 251

A number of buyers, however, doubted the company’s ability to actually deliver the smartphone at Rs 251 after controversies erupted over copyright infringement violations.

“I have booked 6 phones and paid Rs 1,746. I doubt the intentions of Ringing Bells because no official from the management is coming out to satisfy our queries. The company is not behaving like a responsible one,” said Amit Kumar, a student..

“We will deliver on our promises and we do not want to explain everything again and again. Some people are trying to damage our project by spreading rumours,” Ringing Bells co-founder Ashok Chadha said.

Read more: Everything that is wrong with the world’s cheapest smartphone

First Published: Feb 19, 2016 13:10 IST