INDIA: The Enforcement Directorate filed a prosecution charge against journalist Rana Ayyub under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, stating that she had misused Rs 2.69 crore in cash that had been publicly solicited for herself and had also broken the foreign contribution law.
On October 12, the federal organisation delivered their prosecution charge against Ayyub before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh).
“Rana Ayyub initiated three fundraiser charity campaigns on the ‘Ketto platform’ starting in April 2020,” according to a statement from the ED released on Thursday. The statement also read, “Funds totalling Rs 2,69,44,680 were raised.”
The ED stated in a statement that Rana Ayyub claimed the campaigns were intended to raise money for farmers and slum residents, as well as for relief efforts in Bihar, Maharashtra, and Assam, as well as to assist those affected by the COVID-19 in India.
The agency claimed that the money collected through the internet platforms was initially deposited in the accounts of Rana Ayyub’s father and sister before being transferred to her personal accounts.
“Ayyub used the money to open a Rs 50 lakh fixed deposit for herself as well as to transfer of Rs 50 lakh to a new bank account. Only roughly Rs 29 lakh, according to the probe, was spent on relief efforts,” it said.
“Fake bills were submitted by Ayyub in order to claim greater expenses for relief work, and as a result, bank balances in Ayyub’s accounts totalling Rs 1,77,27,704 (including FD of Rs 50 Lakh) were attached under the PMLA via a provisional attachment order dated 04.02.2022,” it stated.
The ED claimed Ayyub “illegally” raised the Rs 2.69 crore and “cheated” donors who were members of the general public.
These funds were instead used to build assets for herself, not for the intended use. According to the organisation, ”Ayyub tried to portray these funds as untainted and has laundered the funds collected from the common public.”
The statement read, “Ayyub also got these donations from foreign nations without any approval or registration from the government, which is required under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.”
”The ED probe has proven that Rana Ayyub had undertaken the aforesaid campaigns with the sole intention of defrauding the general public and gaining proceeds of crime in the form of FD and balances in bank accounts, projecting them as untainted,” the agency stated.
The money laundering inquiry against her was sparked by a Ghaziabad Police FIR on September 20, 2021, regarding conceivable discrepancies in donor payments.
In response, Ayyub called the allegations of money laundering against her “baseless” and described them as “preposterous and absolutely mala fide.”