Freedom 251 Scam 


The term scam can be defined as an illegal act by which the person i.e., scammer try to take away the money illegally from common people. This is done on people of all race, background and includes people of all type of income groups. In a scam the people find themselves stuck since everything seems so real that people cannot realise that they have become prone to scam by this. The people become so hypnotised by these scammers that the message, calls, or emails which they receive seems to be so real that they end up giving their confidential personal information or money to these scammers. The result which comes out is that they do not receive any benefit from their act. 

Scam can be said to be a kind of fraud. The word fraud has come from Latin word “fraus” which means to “deceit”. The messages which people receive from these scammers is called as “lures”. Today, the scam may be done with the help of technology, by a product or services, or by way of telling stories to the people which seems to be real. 

It came to the notice that the term scam was first came to be known by United States in carnival term which means “to trick” or “to commit a fraud” in 1960s. Some people also say that word scam has originated from United Kingdom which has come from a closely sounding word “scamp” which means to “highway robber” and this came to be known in the 18th century. Whereas the word scam came to the knowledge in India in 1948 from a Jeep scandal case when VK Menon signed a contract of Rs. 80,00,000 for the purchase of army jeep without reading the protocols.

The various kind of scam are phishing scam, employment scam, advance fee scam, contest scam, charity scam, investment scam, anti- virus scam, fake check scam, extorsion, lottery scam, emergency scam, etc.

Background of Freedom 251 scam 

In 2016 the technology world globally was taken by storm with the announcement of the “Freedom 251” a smartphone. This smartphone was offered in Inda announced by a company based in Noida to be sold at a price of Rs. 251. The smartphone was sold by “Ringing Bells Private Limited Company” and was marketed heavily as the world’s cheapest smartphone. But, 3 years later there have been no news about the delivery of this smartphone. 

Early in 2016 when the company hosted a glitzy media event to announce the “Freedom 251” and since the smartphone in question was touted as the cheapest smartphone in the world it grabbed headline almost instantly in India as well as in the world. As everyone was talking about “Freedom 251” on you tube, news channels, on websites everywhere “Freedom 251” became the ringing keyboard and Ringing Bells a company which nobody knew anything about quickly became a global name. Originally, Mohit Goel the founder of Ringing Bells had claimed that “Freedom 251” will come in the market in the hands of the buyers from the end of February 2016.  

Over 7 crore orders and registration had been done. Later the founder of the company has been arrested multiple times on the account of fraud, misleading the public running a “Ponzi scheme”. Ponzi Scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, he was a person who deceived his investors in 1920 with postal stamp speculation scheme. In simple language it may be defined as a scheme where the fraudsters take money from the investors saying that they will get higher returns surely but in actual the investors do get anything in return these fraudsters keep money for themselves and they even do not make any kind of investment. 

So, what happened when a smartphone that was supposed to be so cheap which was launched with the vision to make with 1.3 billion people in India give them the access to digital services, internet, smartphones for the price of Rs. 251 turned out be fraud.

Incredible features of Freedom 251 

The smartphone “Freedom 251” sold at just Rs. 251 which is equivalent to a movie ticket came with such amazing features like other smartphones have. “Freedom 251” came with 4 inches display, 1.3 GHz quad core processor, 1 GB RAM which could be expanded to 32 GB SD card, 8 GB internal storage, 3.2 mega-pixel camera, 0.3 mega- pixel front camera, it came with 1450 Mah battery and came with dual sim allotment. This smartphone had the icons which resembled the icons of apple’s iPhone. This smartphone also had Bluetooth and internet facility. The people were amazed by the price and the features being provided in the “Freedom 251”. 

This smartphone was launched as a part of government flagship “Make in India” initiative. A truly affordable smartphone like this could go a long way in getting everyone connected and onto internet. Host of pre- bundled apps that shipped with the phone such as women safety, Swachh Bharat and some popular messaging apps. 

In terms of after sale support this smartphone comes with 1 year warranty and company claims that it can be serviced from over 650 centres spread across the country.

Events occurred

The Ringing Bells Private Limited Company started taking pre- orders after the announcement and it received an amazing response over 70 million registrations were received with such a huge number of registrations taking place the site even crashed multiple times. Cash on delivery however was not allowed to begin with and that it is when the doubts started creeping in the minds of people at first. February came and went but no deliveries of “Freedom 251” happen. The company that came up with a new window for delivering the world’s cheapest smartphone the company had initially promised to deliver 25 lakhs “Freedom 251” smartphones before June 30 but, if we lowered that number to just 2 lakhs but that 2 lakhs were also not delivered after all these delays even after people crying for their money that they had deposited. The customers were getting angry there was no one who had seen a phone in the hand delivered to their home. The company apparently, returned all the money that they collected on the initial batch of orders and announced cash on delivery as an option for selling the smartphone. The important point to be noted here is that at this point yet the company was still to deliver a single handset. 

In July 2016 the company announced that it will start delivering the smartphone from July 8. It would be delivering the first 5,000 units and in total 2 lakhs will be given for grabs. The last news about these smartphones from than was that the company was successful to deliver 5,000 units and the price of Rs. 251 but after that there have been no new numbers and the company has all but lost everything that it gained in that short span of time. 

Basis for trusting Freedom 251 

Before we can understand why the company went down, we must look at the factors that made delivering a smartphone at the price of $4 even possible when “Freedom 251” smartphone was launched in February of 2016. The launch event was attended by a member of parliament and this added to the claim that the project was the part of government’s initiative to make “Digital India”. Digital India was hue and cry back in 2016 with the launch of cheap internet, with the priority to deliver digital services to majority Indian audience it did not seem to be too good to be true as it was possible that the government was financing such a project. However, soon after this news broke the government made it very clear even to the company that the government was not involved in “Freedom 251” at all. 

On 28th June, 2016 when the founder of the company wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi he wanted government of India to invest a financial sum of fifty thousand crore rupees in his project. So, 75 crore people of India could then buy the phone at the price which leads us into the second reason why it all seem so real. The company Ringing Bells was looking at economies of scale which is an economic concept that made Hoo- ha about Rs. 251 smartphones into a kind of sense. And this is when the experts argue that it was not possible to make a phone with the specifications at less than Rs. 2000- 2500. 

With the buzzwords be economies of scale the company claimed if it were able to Seoul 75 crore smartphones it would than sell these phones at the price of Rs. 251 entering a small loss and then making a profit by selling extra services to the consumers. All of that made sense in a way but ultimately when the company started claiming outrageous claims, they said that they were so saying 60% of the components locally and they were thinking of the future where they would manufacture 100% in India. The company was looking for an investment of 70-80 crores to begin with out of about 23 crores which were invested in “Freedom 251” smartphones. Ultimately, the company failed to deliver on its promises. The founder of the Ringing Bell Company Mohit Goel said that his vendors failed to save him and added that if government would help him now, he could still deliver the handsets by March or April in 2019.

A Fallen dream 

The reason that the smartphone failed was simply that it was too good to be true most people in India were well fooled by the promise of getting a smartphone at Rs. 251. It was dream that was shown by a person who was willing to exploit their immense innocence about moving dream phone. When the phone was launched it was speculated that the company had taken another brands phone rub the original name with the whitener and then paste their own brand name. The image of the phone being part of digital India of having some sense of an economic model in place made it succeed enough that everyone was talking about it. This fraud instead of making India a place where digital literacy which could be the biggest in the entire world it has brought about India as a place where such bad events can take place. 

Mohit Goel’s company has backtracked every promise that they have made to their customers. It was nothing more than a scam of epic promotions. The only lesson which we can learn is that people who tend to fall for things which are too good to be true should not do that. This scam was also a setback for the government as well as pushing the ‘Digital India” initiative and “Make in India” initiative the long delay, the eventual shutting down of the company, negative publicity has tarnished India’s image globally. “Freedom 251” shall be seen as one of the biggest scams, smartphone failure and one of the biggest disappointments for time to come.


Mohit Goel the founder of Ringing Bells was arrested in 2017 by Uttar Pradesh police for 6 months in “Freedom 251” scam case. 

He did not stop committing fraud even after doing such a big scam disaster of “Freedom 251” smartphone. He in 2017 cheated Mr. Vikas Mittal by committing a fraud of Rs. 41 lakhs in “Dry Fruit scam”. Mohit Goel ran a company called “Dubai Dry Fruits and spices Hub” from sector 62, Noida. When he was confronted by Vikas Mittal, he threatened him and ran a car over him due to which he got some injuries. After this incident he filed a FIR against him. He was again arrested by the police and his house in Nodia was also raided. After this FIR was lodged against him under section 420, 384, 386, 323, 504, 506, 307 and 120-B of India Penal Code, 1860. These sections of IPC deals with cheating, extortion, extortion by putting a person in fear of death, voluntary causing hurt, intentional insult with an intent to provoke breach, intimidation, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy respectively. The police added that there are 40 written complaints of fraud against this company from Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan traders.

Not only this there are 35 cases of cheating and of various other types of crimes lodged against Mohit Goel.


The tale of the “Freedom 251” exemplifies the timeless adage, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” The irresistible allure of a $4 smartphone captivated millions, only to leave them disappointed and empty-handed. This scam underscores an important lesson in the tech world, as in life: when an offer seems too good to be true, it is wise to approach it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The unveiling of the “Freedom 251” smartphone brought joy to countless individuals as it finally made owning a feature-rich smartphone a reality at an incredibly low price of only Rs 251. The company announced that interested buyers could register for the smartphone online by paying a nominal fee of Rs. 251 in advance. However, those who eagerly signed up for the smartphone were disappointed when they did not receive it on the promised delivery date.

So, it can be said that the thing which seems to be good need not always be good we should inspect before availing the facility or the service being provided to us since with advancement in the technology, we can easily become prone of the frauds.  To be beware of such fraud or scam we should be very vigilant before going on any website or while answering any phone calls which asks us to share the details which are confidential. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is the smartphone named “Freedom 251”?

The smartphone launched by the company Ringing Bells was named “Freedom 251” because in 2016 when the phone was launched it was the time during which India’s initiative was digital India and it was a part of government flagship “Make in India” initiative. 

  1. How is the company going to make profit by selling the phone at Rs. 251?

The company said that the price of the smartphone at Rs. 251 is kept due to which the company is getting into losses but it said that it shall be making profit by setting up service centre for the smartphone which was launched by Ringing Bells.

  1. How did the company Ringing bells fraud people?

The phone which was given in the name of “Freedom 251” was a Chinese phone in which the original brand name was covered using the whitener and the brand name by the company was pasted on the smartphones. The phone original brand name “Ikon 4” was replaced with ““Freedom 251””.

  1. How did people believe such cheap price for the smartphone with great features?

The reason behind people believing it to be true was that in 2016 during the launch event one of the members of the parliament attended it and this added to the claim that it was a part of government’s initiative to make digital India and the another reason for people to believe in this was that Mr. Mohit Goel wrote a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi that he needs a financial support of Rs Fifty Thousand crore which will help people buy this smartphone at such affordable price. 

Author: Riddhi Garg 

Student at College: Kurukshetra University

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