New Delhi, Nov 24: A fresh controversy has reported over the world's cheapest tablet Aakash 2, after Delhi newspaper The Hindustam Times reported today that the devices were procured off-the-shelf from manufacturers in china for $ 42 (Rs 2263 then) a piece.
The newspaper claimed that it has documents to prove that DataWind founders Suneet and Raja Singh Tuli had procured these devices from China for $42 at exactly the price at which they sold these to the Indian government.
The newspaper report said, DataWind bought more than 10,000 or more “A 13” made-inChina tablets from at least four manufacturers in Shenzhen and Hong Kong between October 26 and November 7.
These were shipped to India duty-free as they were meant for school students under an HRD ministry programme, the report said.
Last year, Canada-based DataWind won a bid to supply 100,000 low-cost computing devices to students. Aakash 2, which is meant to be India-made, is part of that agreement.
DataWind had no role either in the design or manufacturing of Aakash 2 tablets, a source told the newspaper.
“I just landed in New York. I will respond upon clearing immigration and customs,” Suneet Tuli texted Hindustan Times in response to a questionnaire emailed to him.
The newspaper report quoting documents said DataWind bought the tablets from at least four manufacturers, Dasen International Electronics, Shenzhen Shitong Zhaoli Technology, Kalong Technology and Trend Grace Ltd.
DataWind's manufacturing partner in Hyderabad --- VMC Systems---had not built any device over the last couple of months, a source told the newspaper.
Its manufacturing partners and facilities in Delhi and Amritsar, respectively, too, had not produced even a single tablet over the last couple of months, the source said.
“Instead of manufacturing these low-cost tablets themselves… DataWind has simply purchased these ‘off-the-shelf' from China and supplied it to the Indian government,” the source told the newspaper.
It now appears that Datawind handed over the China-made tablets to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay for testing.
IIT-B's role is limited to testing and installing apps. These, it emerges, were subsequently unveiled as Aakash 2 on November 11. IIT-B did not respond to an emailed questionnaire.