ED files charges against Rana Ayyub, accuses her of using crowdfunding to create assets
The agency has 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.
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday filed a prosecution complaint against journalist Rana Ayyub under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The charge sheet has been filed in connection with the First Information Report registered in September 2021 by the Indirapuram Police Station, Ghaziabad.
According to reports, the agency has 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.
The ED claimed that its investigation revealed that Ayyub launched three fundraiser campaigns on 'Ketto platform' starting in April 2020 and collected funds totalling Rs 2.69 crore. These funds were not used for the intended purpose, instead used for the creation of assets for herself, the charge sheet claims.
In a statement, the ED said that Ayyub claimed the campaigns were meant to raise funds for farmers and slum dwellers, relief work for Bihar, Maharashtra and Assam, and help those impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The agency alleged that the funds raised on the online platforms were received in the accounts of Ayyub's sister and father and subsequently transferred to her personal accounts. 'Ayyub utilised the funds to create a fixed deposit of Rs 50 lakh for herself and transferred Rs 50 lakh to a new bank account. The investigation found that only about Rs 29 lakh was used for relief work,' it claimed.
The agency alleged that Ayyub submitted fake bills to claim more expenses towards relief work.
The ED had on February 4 this year attached bank balances in the accounts of Ayyub amounting to Rs 1,77,27,704 (including FD of Rs 50 Lakh) under the PMLA vide a provisional attachment order, the agency said, alleging that Ayyub 'cheated' general public donors. Ayyub laundered the funds received from the general public but tried to project these funds as untainted, the agency claimed.
Ayyub's money laundering case stems from a September 2021 FIR lodged by Ghaziabad Police related to alleged irregularities in donor funds. Earlier, she had rejected the allegations and termed the charges against her as 'wholly malafide and preposterous'.