ED charge sheets journalist Rana Ayyub in money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has mentioned in the charge sheet lodged against Rana Ayyub that she launched three campaigns for Covid relief and collected Rs.2,69,44,680, which was later transferred into her personal account, thus illegally acquiring public funds and cheating common people.
The ED filed a prosecution complaint against her in the special PMLA court in Ghaziabad on Wednesday, making shocking allegations regarding the funds Ayyub had raised with the stated purpose of deploying them for various charity endeavors.
The ED probe revealed that only a small portion of this was used for the intended purpose; rather, Ayyub used the funds to create assets for herself. Out of the total fund, only Rs.29 lakh was used for relief and the rest was usurped by Ayyub.
The ED learned that Ayyub launched three fundraiser campaigns on the ‘Ketto platform‘ starting from April 2020, and collected funds totaling to Rs.2,69,44,680. Her three campaigns included raising funds for slum dwellers & farmers, relief work for Assam, Bihar, and Maharashtra, and helping Rana Ayyub and her team to help those impacted by COVID-19 in India.
“Investigation by the 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 utilized these funds to create a fixed deposit of Rs.50 lakh for herself and also transferred Rs 50 lakh in a new bank account,” the ED has mentioned in the charge sheet.
The ED investigation has established that Ayyub had launched the aforesaid campaigns with the “sole intention to cheat the general public and acquired the Proceeds of Crime in form of FD and balances in bank accounts projecting them as untainted”.
The ED had initiated the money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered in 2021 by the Indirapuram police station, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, under various sections of IPC, Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, and Black Money Act against Ayyub.
It was alleged that Ayyub illegally acquired funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fund-raiser campaigns on an online crowdfunding platform-‘Ketto’. The ED has alleged that Ayyub received foreign contributions without registration under FCRA. The ED investigation revealed that only Rs.29 lakh was used for relief work. In order to claim more expenses for the relief work, fake bills were submitted by Ayyub.
Subsequently, bank balances in the accounts of 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 in February.
The ED has also mentioned in the charge sheet 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.
Ayyub has tried to project these funds as untainted and thus has laundered the funds received from the general public. She also received these funds from foreign countries without any approval or registration from the government, which is required under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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