Mohit Goel, the man behind the much-hyped Freedom 251 phone, has been arrested once again for another reported fraud worth Rs. 200 crores — for dry fruits. This time, Goel is reportedly accused of defaulting payments of dry fruit traders after offering them advance payments and bulk order to gain their trust. Goel had grabbed headlines in 2016 when his company, Ringing Bells, announced the Freedom 251 smartphone for an astonishing price of Rs. 251. Those promises were never fully met and Goel was later accused of multiple frauds, including a death threat.
As per a report, Goel was arrested on Sunday in a dry fruit fraud case worth Rs. 200 crore.
An FIR was first reportedly filed against Goel’s company last month, and after that the police has at least 40 written complaints of fraud against it from traders in Punjab, Haryana, UP, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and a few other states. Goel’s bail plea was also denied by the Surajpur court on Monday.
In 2016, Goel’s Ringing Bells launched the Freedom 251 cheapest smartphone with a price tag of Rs. 251. The phone, with its bizarre price tag, grabbed big headlines at launch. It soon came under the scanner of the government after the company announced that it had received 50 million registrations for the phone.
Deliveries of the Freedom 251 phone were delayed multiple times and later, even after the deliveries reportedly began, numbers were not revealed. In a December 2017 interview, Goel sought support from the government to deliver the handsets. There were no developments reported about the ‘miracle phone’ after 2017. The next year, Goel was again in the news for being arrested for allegedly trying to extort money from a businessman to “settle a gang-rape case”.