New Delhi [India]: Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a chargesheet against journalist Rana Ayyub under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in Special Court, Ghaziabad on Wednesday.
ED had initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered on September 7, 2021 by the Indirapuram police station, Ghaziabad, UP, 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.
ED investigation revealed that Rana Ayyub launched three fundraiser campaigns on ‘Ketto platform’ starting from April 2020, and collected funds totalling to Rs 2.70 crore. She collected funds in the name of helping slum dwellers and farmers, relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra and helping those who were affected by Covid-19 in India.
The central agency probe 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.
ED investigation revealed that only approx 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 crore including FD of Rs 50 lakh were attached.
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, instead used for the creation of assets for herself. Rana Ayyub has tried to project these funds as untainted and thus has laundered the funds received from general public.
Ayyub 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 central agency said the investigation established that 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.