NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a prosecution complaint — equivalent to a charge sheet — against journalist Rana Ayyub in connection with its money laundering probe into alleged irregularities in funds collected by her for relief work, accusing her of launching three fundraiser campaigns on ‘Ketto’ platform starting from April 2020, and collected funds totalling to Rs 2,69,44,680.
The campaigns were named Help in raising funds for slum dwellers and farmers; Relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra; and Help Rana Ayyub and her team to help those impacted by Covid-19 in India, said ED in its charge sheet filed in a special court in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad on Wednesday.
The investigation by ED revealed that the funds raised on the online platforms were received in the accounts of Rana Ayyub’s father and sister and subsequently transferred to her personal accounts.
The ED said that Rana 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 ED investigation also revealed that only approximately Rs 29 lakh was used for relief work.
“In order to claim more expenses towards relief work, fake bills were submitted by Rana Ayyub. Subsequently, bank balances in the accounts of Rana Ayyub amounting to Rs 1,77,27,704 (including fixed deposits of Rs 50 lakh) were attached under section 5(1) of Prevention of Money Laundering Act vide a provisional attachment order dated February 4 this year,” the EF said in a statement.
The investigation by ED further revealed that 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 but instead used for the creation of assets for herself, said the ED.
“Rana 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 Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010,” the ED said.
The ED investigation has established that Rana Ayyub had launched “these campaigns with the sole intention to cheat the general public and acquired proceeds of crime in the form of fixed deposits and balances in bank accounts projecting them as untainted”.
The ED had initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered on September 7 last year by the Indirapuram Police Station, Ghaziabad, under various sections of IPC 1860, Information Technology Amendment Act ,2008 and Black Money Act against Rana Ayyub alleging that she illegally acquired funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fund-raiser campaigns on an online crowdfunding platform-‘Ketto’.
It was also alleged that Rana Ayyub is a journalist by profession and received foreign contributions without registration under FCRA. (ANI)