Home » In Delhi high court, ED opposes Rana Ayyub plea, says charges facing her serious

In Delhi high court, ED opposes Rana Ayyub plea, says charges facing her serious

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Alleging that Rana Ayyub was involved in a “serious offence” regarding funds involving over 1 crore, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in the Delhi high court, on Friday opposed a petition filed by the journalist seeking to quash a look out circular (LOC), which bars her from travelling abroad.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh granted time to additional solicitor general SV Raju to place certain facts on record and listed the matter for further hearing on April 4, according to news agency PTI.

On March 29, Ayyub was detained at the Mumbai airport by the Bureau of Immigration, when she was travelling to London to attend events about the global problem of cyber attacks on women journalists, as well as to deliver a keynote speech on the status of journalism in India.

She then approached the high court challenging the LOC issued against him and sought to quash any direction or instruction preventing her from travelling abroad.

Raju, appearing for the ED, submitted that Ayyub was involved in a serious offence of misappropriated funds. “She received the money in dollars along with Indian rupees for charity and to help the poor and migrants during the Covid-19 period. We have found that the money for relief work has been siphoned off and fake bills have been submitted by her,” news agency ANI quoted Raju as saying.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Ayyub, submitted that “all money in her bank accounts have been seized. The mala fide is writ large. After February 1, there is no summon by the ED and no communication from their side. The ED’s action is nothing but a sham because my client is a critic of the government”.

Ayyub, in her petition, said after detaining her, the officers of bureau immigration told her that they have instructions from the ED to not allow her to board the flight and the immigration stamp on her passport was stamped as ‘cancelled’.

Later, the ED also emailed her summons to her under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and asked her to appear before the agency on April 1.

An inquiry was initiated by the Mumbai Zonal Office of ED under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against her last year and certain documents and information was sought from her.

The central anti-money laundering agency is investigating her for donations she raised through an online crowdfunding platform during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In February, the ED had attached funds worth 1.77 crore in Ayyub’s bank accounts, alleging that she prepared fake bills in the name of some entities to claim expenses on relief work and created a fixed deposit of 50 lakh from the funds raised on the online platform Ketto.

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