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Rana Ayyub case: ED files chargesheet, says journalist's sole intention was to cheat public

Rana Ayyub case: ED files chargesheet, says journalist's sole intention was to cheat public

Ayyub was accused of illegally acquiring funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fundraiser campaigns on an online crowd funding platform called Ketto.

ED sleuths said that Ayyub illegally raised Rs 2.69 crore by launching three online campaigns in the name of charity by cheating donors. ED sleuths said that Ayyub illegally raised Rs 2.69 crore by launching three online campaigns in the name of charity by cheating donors.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a chargesheet against journalist and columnist Rana Ayyub on money laundering charges before a designated court in Ghaziabad. 

As per details, ED had initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered in September last year by the Indirapuram Police Station in Ghaziabad, under various sections of IPC 1860, Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, and Black Money Act against Ayyub. She was accused of illegally acquiring funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fundraiser campaigns on an online crowdfunding platform called Ketto. It was also alleged that as Ayyub is a journalist by profession, she received foreign contributions, which she got without any registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. 

As per ED, Ayyub launched three fundraiser campaigns on the Ketto platform in April 2020, and collected funds to the tune of Rs 2,69,44,680. She collected the funds for the following social causes:  

 • Help in raising funds for slum dwellers and farmers 

• Relief work for Assam, Bihar, and Maharashtra 

• Help Rana Ayyub and her team to help those impacted by Covid-19 in India 

ED sleuths said that 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 but instead used for the creation of assets for herself. ED said that Ayyub had launched the aforesaid campaigns with the sole intention to cheat the general. 

The 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. Ayyub utilised these funds to create fixed deposits of Rs 50 lakh for herself and also transferred Rs 50 Lakh to a new bank account. ED investigation revealed that only Rs. 29 lakh was used for relief work.  

In order to claim more expenses for relief work, fake bills were submitted by Ayyub. Subsequently, bank balances to the tune of Rs 1,77,27,704 (including FD of Rs. 50 Lakh) in the accounts of Ayyub were attached u/ s 5(1) of PMLA vide a Provisional Attachment Order dated 04.02.2022.
“These funds were not used for the intended purpose, instead used for creation of assets for herself. Rana Ayyub has tried to project these funds as untainted and thus has laundered the funds received from the general public. 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,” the financial probe agency further said. 

The officials claimed that Ayyub’s sole intention was to cheat the general public and acquired proceeds of crime in form of fixed deposits and balances in bank accounts projecting them as untainted.

Ayyub, in a statement earlier on these allegations, had said: "It is abundantly clear that no part of the relief campaign fund remains unaccounted for, and there is absolutely no scope for any remote allegation of misuse of the funds for personal expenses."
"Such allegations are preposterous, wholly mala fide and belied by the record, and are a deliberate misreading of my bank statements," the statement read.
Sources in ED have also said that part of the money received as donations was allegedly used for personal expenses, including a vacation trip.
ED sources claimed that during her questioning, Ayyub was unable to explain why she had not utilised the donations and certain expenditures.

Published on: Oct 13, 2022, 2:38 PM IST
Posted by: Basudha Das, Oct 13, 2022, 2:32 PM IST