The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a prosecution complaint against Rana Ayyub under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), in a Ghaziabad court.
The financial probe agency had initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered on 7 Septemeber last year by Ghaziabad police under various sections of IPC, Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 and Black Money Act against Rana Ayyub.
In the FIR, it was alleged that Ayyub illegally acquired funds from general public in the name of charity by launching fund-raiser campaigns on an online crowd funding platform-‘Ketto’.
It was also alleged that Rana Ayyub, a journalist by profession, received foreign contribution without registration under FCRA.
ED investigation revealed that Rana Ayyub launched three fundraiser campaigns on ‘Ketto platform’ starting from April 2020, and collected funds totaling to Rs 2,69,44,680 (Rs 2.69 crore).
Further, the ED 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.
"Rana Ayyub utilized these funds to create a fixed deposits of Rs 50 lakhs for herself and also transferred Rs 50 Lakhs in a new bank account," the ED said in a statement on Thursday (13 October).
ED investigation revealed that only around Rs 29 lakhs was used for relief work, the agency said.
"In order to claim more expenses towards relief work, fake bills were submitted by Ms Rana Ayyub," the ED said.
"Subsequently, bank balances in the accounts of Ms. Rana Ayyub amounting to Rs.1,77,27,704/- (including FD of Rs. 50 Lakh) were attached u/ s 5(1) of PMLA vide a Provisional Attachment Order dated 04 February 2022," the agency said.
ED said that its probe revealed that 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 creation of assets for herself, the agency said.
"Rana Ayyub has tried to project these funds as untainted and thus has laundered the funds received from general public. Rana 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.
ED said that its investigation has established that 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.
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