ED asked for restraint  on attached funds of Rana Ayyub

Rana Ayyub

Rana Ayyub

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to refrain from proceeding further on the provisional attachment of funds of journalist Rana Ayyub in connection with an alleged money laundering probe against her.

Justice Yashwant Varma gave the direction on Ms. Ayyub’s petition against the provisional attachment. The High Court also issued notice to the investigating agency and sought its response within six weeks.

“Till the next date of listing, the respondent [ED] shall stand restrained from taking further steps as contemplated under Section 8 (Adjudication) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The petitioner [Ms. Ayyub] shall also stand restrained from disposing of or creating any third party rights or encumbering the property which forms the subject matter of the provisional order of attachment,” the court said.

During the hearing, advocate Vrinda Grover, representing Ms. Ayyub, said that the provisional attachment order of February 2022 has lapsed and ceased to exist upon expiry of 180 days and the adjudicating authority can no longer pass an order of confirmation.

The ED had attached Ms. Ayyub’s assets worth ₹1.77 crore in connection with alleged irregularities in the collection of charitable funds for COVID relief work held in two accounts of a private bank in Navi Mumbai under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED had said that Ms. Ayyub is involved in a “very serious offence” and had misappropriated funds collected in the name of relief work. It had stated that Ms. Ayyub had submitted fake bills and thus, the money raised for relief work was siphoned off.

Ms. Ayyub, in her plea, said she has the constitutional right not to be deprived of her property save by authority of law, and the continued attachment of her property beyond the statutorily authorised period of 180 days was arbitrary, lacks jurisdiction and without the authority of law.

The High Court has posted the case for further hearing on November 17.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 1:50:29 pm |