ED books journalist Rana Ayyub; says she used public funds for self

The ED has accused Rana Ayyub (in pic) of utilising publicly raised funds of Rs 2.69 crore for herself and also contravening the foreign contribution law. Photo: Twitter

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has filed a charge sheet against journalist Rana Ayyub under the anti-money laundering law, alleging that she utilised publicly raised funds of Rs 2.69 crore for herself and also contravened the foreign contribution law.

The federal agency filed its prosecution complaint against Ayyub before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) on October 12.

"Rana Ayyub launched three fundraiser charity campaigns on the 'Ketto platform' starting from April 2020 and collected funds totalling Rs 2,69,44,680," the ED said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The campaigns, it said, were meant to raise funds for slum dwellers and farmers; relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra and help Ayyub and her team to help those impacted by COVID-19 in India.

The probe found, the agency said, that the funds raised on the online platforms were received in the accounts of Ayyub's father and sister and subsequently transferred to her personal accounts.

"Ayyub utilised these funds to create a fixed deposit of Rs 50 lakh for herself and also transferred Rs 50 lakh to a new bank account. The investigation found that only about Rs 29 lakh was used for relief work," it claimed.

"In order to claim more expenses towards relief work, fake bills were submitted by Ayyub and subsequently, bank balances in the accounts of Ayyub amounting to Rs 1,77,27,704 (including FD of Rs 50 Lakh) were attached under the PMLA vide a provisional attachment order dated 04.02.2022," it said.

The ED alleged Ayyub "illegally" raised the Rs 2.69 crore funds and "cheated" general public donors.

"These funds were not used for the intended purpose and instead used for the creation of assets for herself. Ayyub has tried to project these funds as untainted and thus has laundered the funds received from the general public," the agency alleged.

"Ayyub also received these funds from foreign countries without any approval or registration from the government which is required under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010," it said.

The investigation by ED 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", the agency said.

The money laundering case against her stems from a September 2021 FIR of Ghaziabad Police related to alleged irregularities in donor funds.

Ayyub had earlier rejected these allegations saying the money laundering charges levelled against her were "preposterous and wholly mala fide".

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