In a major development on Sunday, the Noida police had arrested the founder of ‘Freedom 251’ mobile phones for defrauding dry fruit traders to the tune of 200 crores.
As per reports, the accused Mohit Goel, who founded Ringing Bells that offered the world’s cheapest phone ‘Freedom 251’, ran a dry fruit business in Noida Sector 62 in Uttar Pradesh. The business named Dubai Dry Fruits and Spices Hub was operated by Goel along with 5 other individuals. Initially, they would purchase fruits at price, higher than the market rates. They would also make timely payment to the traders.
After Goel and his accomplice won the trust of the dry fruit traders, they would place orders in bulk. The company would then make 40% payment in advance via net banking and would assure the traders of making the remainder of the payment in the form of cheques. But, the cheques would bounce when traders tried to encash them. Meanwhile, Goel and others would sell the dry fruits in the open market while evading payment to the traders.
Police arrests Mohit Goel and his accomplice, hunt for other accused underway
The police swung into action after they received 40 complaints from traders across several States including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The cops arrested Mohit Goel and his aide Omprakash Jaangid on Sunday. The police recovered several key documents, 60 kg dry fruits, and two cars including an Audi. A manhunt has been initiated to nab three other accused, namely, Rajiv Kumar, Sumit Yadav, and Praveen Singh Nirwan. The cops also informed that the company was the 4th business venture of Mohit Goel, which he started after three others shut down following criminal cases.
“They would procure goods from suppliers at rates higher than normal market price initially and make timely payment, in a bid to make good impression on their target. They would later place bulk orders and make 30 to 40 per cent of payment in advance, further assuring suppliers of their credibility. So basically, they would buy genuine goods from suppliers officially at higher rates but not pay them full money in return and sold the goods in open market in cash and make money there,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Love Kumar informed.
The story of Freedom 251
In February 2016, Mohit Goel owned Ringing Bells launched the world’s cheapest phone, dubbed ‘Freedom 251’. While the promotional price of ₹251 was offered initially, the company claimed that it would charge ₹500 for regular sale. Nonetheless, the phone generated a sudden hype and captivated the imagination of Indian customers so much so that they had bookings worth ₹1.75 crores.
“Freedom 251” Ringing Bells Co’s Mohit Goel, The Scam I had exposed in February 2016, is now arrested for another Fraud of ₹200 Crore.— Kirit Somaiya (@KiritSomaiya) January 13, 2021
Cheating dry fruit traders through a company called Dubai Dry fruits and Spices Hub @BJP4India @BJP4Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/dByX0DfRxj
BJP leader Kriti Somaiya had called for an investigation in the claims made by the company. The Indian Cellular Association (ICA) had also raised questions about the ‘Freedom 251’ smartphone and emphasised that even with subsidies, the company could not sell the phone below ₹3500.
It was found that the company did not have a Bureau of Indian Standards certification for its product. The initial prototype, handed out by the company, also differed significantly from its later units. Mohit Goel was arrested in February 2017on charges of fraud.