"She illegally collected Rs 2.69 Crores": ED Moves prosecution complaint against Rana Ayyub under PMLA in Ketto Campaign case

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The Enforcement Directorate has moved the prosecution complaint against Rana Ayyub alleging that she illegally acquired funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fund-raiser campaigns on an online crowdfunding platform ‘Ketto’.

The Enforcement Directorate has moved the Special Court, Ghaziabad filing a prosecution complaint against Rana Ayyub. ED has submitted that their probe revealed that Rana Ayyub launched 3 fundraiser campaigns on the ‘Ketto platform’ starting in April 2020, and collected funds totaling Rs. 2.69 Crores.

ED had initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR alleging that Ayyub illegally acquired funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fund-raiser campaigns on an online crowdfunding platform ‘Ketto’. It was also alleged that Ayyub who is a journalist by profession received foreign contributions without registration under FCRA.

ED's investigation has revealed that the funds raised on the online platforms were received in the accounts of Ayyub's father and sister and subsequently transferred to her personal accounts.

Additionally, Ayyub utilized these funds to create a fixed deposit of Rs. 50 lakhs for herself and also transferred Rs. 50 Lakhs in a new bank account, ED has submitted. "Whereas, it was also revealed that only an amount of approximately Rs. 29 lakhs was used for relief work", ED's complaint stated. 

ED has alleged that Ayyub tried to project these funds as untainted and thus laundered the funds received from the general public.

It has also been alleged that Ayyub had launched the aforesaid campaigns with the sole intention to cheat the general public and acquired the proceeds of crime in form of FD and balances in bank accounts projecting them as untainted.

It may be noted, Ayyub had moved a plea before the Delhi High Court against the attachment of funds by the Enforcement Directorate in the same matter.

In February, the Enforcement Directorate attached Ayyub's assets worth Rs 1.77 crore in connection with alleged irregularities in the collection of charitable funds for COVID relief work.

According to the ED, the investigations established that the funds were raised in the name of charity in a completely planned and systematic manner and that the funds were not used entirely for the purpose for which they were raised.

ED stated that the FIR was filed in response to a complaint filed by Vikas Sankrityayan of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, on August 28, 2021.

ED further stated that the aforementioned FIR revealed that Ayyub raised huge amounts in crores via the 'Ketto' platform (an online crowdfunding platform) in three campaigns, namely Funds 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 in India during May-June 2021.

In April, a bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh of the Delhi High Court granted Ayyub permission to travel abroad stating that there is no compelling reason to believe that she will not appear before the Investigation Agency, and thus no case was made out for issuing the impugned Lookout Circular (LOC).