So it turns out some things really are too good to be true – last year, a smartphone called the Freedom 251 was released in India for the equivalent of just $4. While it certainly did not excel in the specs department, its extremely low price made it pretty attractive, particularly to low-income parts of the country. Unfortunately for them, Mohit Goel, the founder of Ringing Bells, the device's maker, was recently arrested on allegations of fraud.
The incident which prompted the arrest was the result of an unfulfilled order, according to the police. A handset dealer ordered devices amounting to 3 million Indian rupees ($45,000), but reportedly received only a small amount of the order. Some of the received phones, which amounted to 1.4 million rupees, were also defective, and when the dealer contacted Ringing Bells for a refund, Goel and another executive reportedly threatened to kill him and his family.
Launched in June last year, the Freedom 251, which is named for its price in rupees, sold for less than its manufacturing costs, and some people at the time alleged the firm may in fact be a Ponzi scheme. Goel has been detained for interrogation, and an investigation on the matter is underway.