The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth over ₹1.77 crore in connection with a case allegedly involving journalist Rana Ayyub.
The action has been taken on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Indirapuram Police Station in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad against Ms. Ayyub, alleging that she illegally acquired money from general public in the name of charity.
The FIR was instituted on a complaint dated August 28, 2021, lodgedby one Vikas Sankrityayan.
The FIR alleged that Ms. Ayyub raised amounts running into crores via “Ketto”, an online crowd funding platform,in three campaigns. The funds were collected for slum dwellers and farmers during April- May 2020; relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra during June-September 2020 and help for COVID-19 impacted people during May-June 2021.
“Funds totalling ₹2,69,44,680 were raised on Ketto by Rana Ayyub. These funds were withdrawn in the bank accounts of her sister/father. Of this amount, ₹72,01,786 was withdrawn in her own bank account,” the agency said.
More than ₹37 lakh was withdrawn in her sister Iffat Shaikh’s account and over ₹1.60 crore in her father Mohd. Ayyub Waquif’s bank account. All these funds were subsequently transferred to her own account, as alleged.
Ms. Ayyub submitted documents related toexpenses to the tune of ₹31.16 lakh. However, after verification of the claimed expenses, it surfaced that the actual expenses allegedly amounted to ₹17.66 lakh.
“Fake bills were found to have been prepared by Ms. 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,” as alleged.
The ED alleged that funds were raised in the name of charity in a pre-planned manner and they were not utilisedcompletely for the stated purpose.
Investigations disclosed that instead of using the funds for the relief work, Ms. Ayyub allegedly 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 use them for relief work.
Accordingly, the agency has attached fixed deposit for ₹50 lakh and the accrued interest, the bank balance of over ₹57 lakh and ₹70.08 lakh.