The Noida-based makers of 'Freedom 251', which was claimed to be the world's cheapest smartphone, have been summoned as accused by a Delhi court in a Rs 2-crore cheque bounce case filed by a private firm.
The court summoned the accused -- M/s Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd (RBPL), its authorised signatory and Managing Director Mohit Goel, its Directors Anmol Goel and Sumit Goel, CEO Dhaarna Goel and President Ashok Chaddha -- on a complaint filed by M/s Aryan Infratech Pvt Ltd (AIPL).
Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria noted in the order that even after the legal notice was sent to the accused when the cheque got dishonoured, they failed to pay the amount.
"There is sufficient material available on record to summon all the accused. Therefore, a prima facie case punishable under section 138 Negotiable Instrument Act... Issue summons to all the accused," the court said while posting the matter for April 28 for the next hearing.
According to the complaint, the accused had issued a cheque in favour of the complainant firm AIPL towards discharge of their liability.
However, it was returned by the bank on October 28 due to "insufficient funds".
Therefore, the complainant firm sent a legal notice to the accused but payment was not made and AIPL approached the court.
The complaint has sought prosecution of the firm and its office bearers and payment of the amount along with compensation.
A little-known company RBPL began selling the handset, Freedom 251, via its website in February. But the launch of the smartphone, touted to be the worlds cheapest, landed in a controversy, with some alleging it to be a ponzy scheme.
The firm had claimed that around 30,000 customers had booked the phone despite the glitch and seven crore people registered for it.
The company, however, withdrew the product and refunded the payments to customers following a close scrutiny by government agencies.
The company in July claimed that it has delivered 5,000 Freedom 251 smartphones and promised to deliver 65,000 more to those who had booked the device in cash on delivery (COD) mode.
After that, no new numbers have been shared and it appears the initial hype has fizzled out. The company has since forayed into making TVs and other smartphones.
(With PTI inputs)