The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed Prosecution complaint against journalist Rana Ayyub under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in Hon’ble Special Court, Ghaziabad on Wednesday.
The ED had initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered on September 07, 2021 by the Indirapuram Police Station, Ghaziabad, U.P, under various sections of Indian Penal Code IPC, Information Technology Amendment Act and Black Money Act against Rana Ayyub alleging that she illegally acquired funds from general public in the name of charity by launching fund-raiser campaigns on an online crowd funding platform-‘Ketto’. It was also alleged that Rana Ayyub is a journalist by profession and received foreign contribution without registration under FCRA.
"ED investigation revealed that Rana Ayyub launched 3 fundraiser campaigns on ‘Ketto platform’ starting from April 2020, and collected funds totaling to Rs. 2,69,44,680/-, namely: Help in raising funds for slum dwellers & farmers, Relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra and Help Rana Ayyub and her team to help those impacted by Covid19 in India," the agency claimed in a statement.
"Investigation by ED revealed that the funds raised on the online platforms were received in the accounts of her father and sister and subsequently transferred to her personal accounts. Ms. Rana Ayyub utilized these funds to create a fixed deposits of Rs 50 lakhs for herself and also transferred Rs 50 lakhs in a new bank account. ED investigation revealed that only approximately Rs 29 lakhs was used for relief work. In order to claim more expenses towards relief work, fake bills were submitted by Ms Rana Ayyub. Subsequently, bank balances in the accounts of Ms. Rana Ayyub amounting to Rs.1,77,27,704/- (including FD of Rs 50 lakh) were attached u/ s 5(1) of PMLA vide a Provisional Attachment Order dated 04.02.2022," the statement further added.
"Investigation by ED further revealed that Ms. Rana Ayyub illegally raised Rs 2.69 crore by launching three online campaigns in the name of charity by cheating the general public donors. These funds were not used for the intended purpose, instead used for creation of assets for herself. Ms Rana Ayyub has tried to project these funds as untainted and thus has laundered the funds received from general public. Ms Rana Ayyub also received these funds from foreign countries without any approval or registration from the government which is required under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. ED Investigation has established that Ms. Rana Ayyub had launched the aforesaid campaigns with the sole intention to cheat the general public and acquired Proceeds of Crime in form of FD and balances in bank accounts projecting them as untainted. Further proceedings in this case are in progress," the agency's statement claimed.
"I have learnt from media reports that the ED has filed a chargesheet in the PMLA case initiated against me. It is noteworthy that the ED has provisionally attached my bank account funds, including my professional income, but the attachment proceedings were stayed by the Delhi High Court and the attachment of funds has not been confirmed. The funds raised by me for Covid support were raised and used with the sole aim of helping people in dire need, and I am happy that many families ravaged by Covid received support. The chargesheet filed by the ED is yet another desparate attempt to target and intimidate me for my work, and yet another example of the abuse of PMLA law and misuse of law enforcement agencies to silence me," Ayyub shared in a tweet on Thursday.