ED attaches 1.77 crore in bank accounts linked to Rana Ayyub

ByHT Correspondent
Feb 10, 2022 11:19 PM IST

The Enforcement Directorate action comes on a FIR registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police against journalist Rana Ayyub in September 2021 for funds collected for three online campaigns.

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached funds worth 1.77 crore in the bank accounts of journalist Rana Ayyub alleging that money raised by her for relief work through online crowdfunding platform Ketto were laundered and used for personal expenses, officials said on Thursday.

Journalist Rana Ayyub (HT File Photo)
Journalist Rana Ayyub (HT File Photo)

The agency also accused Rana Ayyub of preparing fake bills in the name of some entities to claim expenses on relief work, and that she created a fixed deposit of 50 lakh from the funds raised on the online platform.

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The investigation against Ayyub was launched in September last year based on a First Information Report (FIR) by the Ghaziabad police, in which the complainant, Vikas Sankrityayan accused her of illegally acquiring public money.

It was claimed in the UP Police complaint that Rana Ayyub raised funds from India and abroad for three campaigns pitched for helping slum dwellers and farmers, carrying out relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra and helping people impacted by Covid-19 without the approvals required under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Rana Ayyub hasn’t commented on ED move yet. She didn’t respond to queries sent to her by HT. But when the FIR was registered in September last year, she had rubbished allegations of misappropriation of funds and described them as malicious.

According to ED, Ayyub raised a total of 2.69 crore on Ketto for the three campaigns and these funds were largely deposited in the bank accounts of her sister Iffat Shaikh and father Mohammad Ayyub Waquif.

Out of this amount, said an ED officer, 72 lakh was withdrawn by her in her own bank account; 37.15 lakh in her sister’s account and 1.60 crore in her father’s account.

“All these funds from her sister and father’s account were subsequently transferred in her own account,” said this officer.

During the investigation, said a second officer, Ayyub submitted information/documents related to expenses to the tune of 17.66 lakh.

“Fake bills were found to have been prepared by Rana Ayyub in the name of some entities to claim expenses on relief work. Expenses made for personal travel by air were claimed as expense for relief work,” said the second officer.

The first officer said: “Our investigations makes it abundantly clear that the funds were raised in the name of charity in a completely pre-planned and systematic manner and the funds were not utilized completely for the purpose of which the funds were raised.”

“Instead of utilizing the funds for the relief work, Ayyub parked some of the funds by opening a separate current bank account. She also created a fixed deposit of 50 lakh from the funds raised on Ketto and subsequently did not utilise these for relief works,” he said.

The probe has revealed that she donated 74.50 lakh in the PM Cares fund and CM Relief Fund.

“Accordingly, at the stage of the investigation, the proceeds of crime are quantified as 1,77,27,704 and the interest generated upon the said FD of 50 Lakh,” said the second ED officer.

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