About a year ago, the Indian company Ringing Bells made waves when it announced a ~$4 Android smartphone (Rs. 251), the Freedom 251. The device was definitely low-end, and the low price was mostly thanks to government subsidies. But now Mohit Goel, the director of Ringing Bells, has been arrested on allegations of fraud.
The claim of fraud comes from Ringing Bells simply not fulfilling all of its orders. One such case is for the distribution company Ayam Enterprises, which paid 3m rupees (roughly $45,000) to distribute the phone. In the end, it only received about 1.4m-worth of the phones. Supposedly staff from Ayam received death threats from repeated requests for the remaining units.
A police spokesman told the BBC that Goel would appear in court on Friday, and that there were several other similar complaints that they want to investigate thoroughly.
The phone itself has been somewhat of a mess as well. Not only does it have app icons ripped directly from iOS, but the phone's real OEM is Adcom - with the Adcom name being covered over with whitener. To make matters worse, Adcom had no idea that Ringing Bells was reselling its device under a different name.