FIR against ‘Freedom 251’ makers premature: High Court
In a relief to the makers of ‘Freedom 251’ smartphone, the Allahabad High Court on Friday said the FIR filed against Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd – a Noida-based firm that launched the smart phone – is premature.
A Division Bench, comprising Justices BK Narayan and RN Mishra, ordered that no coercive step be taken against the company’s officials and their business till the next hearing on May 18.
During the course of hearing, the Bench kept on asking the prosecution lawyers as to how an offence under Section 420 of the IPC was made out against the makers of ‘Freedom 251’ smartphone but no cogent reply was offered. The court then ordered them to file a reply within two weeks.
An FIR was registered in March against Ringing Bells director Mohit Goel and company president Ashok Chaddha under Section 420 of the IPC as well as the IT Act on a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya.
The court also allowed the petitioners the liberty to move an application for the release of their passports.
“We are very happy with today’s (Friday’s) order. We shall now press for the quashing of the FIR as there is no merit in it and extraneous factors have gone into its lodging. This FIR is a strategy to derail the timely launch of the flagship product of the company,” said Abhishek Vikram, counsel for Ringing Bells.
“The company has already sold 28,000 units of its other products and has developed innovative strategies to meet its cost for delivering the smartphone for Rs 251 to its customers. The company’s aim is to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural India by selling the smartphone for Rs 251,” Vikram added.
Ringing Bells launched ‘Freedom 251’ in February in the presence of BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi.
It distributed some “prototypes” of the product to the media which turned out to be Adcom handsets.