New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has filed a chargesheet against journalist Rana Ayyub under the anti-money laundering law, alleging that she illegally acquired funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fundraiser campaigns.
The federal agency filed its prosecution complaint against Ayyub before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ghaziabad on October 12.
“Rana Ayyub launched three fundraiser charity campaigns on ‘Ketto platform’ starting from April, 2020 and collected funds totalling Rs 2,69,44,680,” the ED said in a statement issued on Thursday.
It was also alleged that the journalist received foreign contribution without registration under FCRA, the probe agency said.
Collected funds in name of helping slum dwellers
Ayyub 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, ED said.
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 Ayyub and subsequently, bank balances in the accounts of Ayyub amounting to Rs 1,77,27,704 (including FD of Rs 50 Lakh) were attached under the PMLA vide a provisional attachment order dated 04.02.2022,” it said.
Subsequently, bank balances in the accounts of Rana Ayyub amounting to Rs 1.77 crore including FD of Rs 50 lakh were attached, the statement said.
Illegally raised funds through campaigns
The ED alleged Ayyub “illegally” raised the Rs 2.69 crore funds and “cheated” general public donors.
“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,” the probe agency said.
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, it added.
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.