New Delhi, Feb 12 (AsiaFreePress): India’s economic intelligence agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached Rs 1.77 crore belonging to journalist Rana Ayyub in connection with a money laundering case, reports said quoting officials on Friday.
However, the journalist has rebuffed the allegations saying “there is absolutely no scope for any remote allegation of misuse of the funds for personal expenses”.
As per reports, the case against Ayyub was filed after taking cognizance of a September 2021 FIR of Ghaziabad Police (Uttar Pradesh) related to alleged irregularities in donor funds of over Rs 2.69 crore raised by her through an online crowd-funding platform called ‘Ketto’.
Rana Ayyub had started three campaigns, which included funds for slum dwellers and farmers during April- May 2020, relief work for Assam, Bihar, and Maharashtra during June- Sept 2020, and help for COVID impacted people in India during May-June 2021, India Today reported as it quoted sources from the probe agency as saying.
Ayyub allegedly received donations to the tune of Rs 2.69 crore through three donation campaigns, out of which Rs 80.49 lakh was received in foreign currency, it alleged.
The report quoting sources said the foreign donations were later returned by Ayyub as the Income Tax Department initiated an investigation as it was in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA).
Later in the day, the Journalist in a statement refuted allegations that she had diverted for personal use funds she had raised to help people affected by the COVID pandemic.
“It is abundantly clear that no part of the relief campaign fund remains unaccounted for, and there is absolutely no scope for any remote allegation of misuse of the funds for personal expenses,” said the statement issued by her.
The reports, attributed to “agency sources”, claimed that this move was related to “alleged irregularities in charitable funds raised from public donors”.
Ayyub said that she had not received any communication from the authorities about her deposits being attached.
International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in a statement condemning the increasing vicious attacks online against her said, “We stand in solidarity with Rana Ayyub as she continues to speak truth to power, even as she faces increasingly serious threats to her life. We call on news publishers, civil society organizations and the diplomatic community to vigorously defend her right to practice journalism freely and safely in India.”