NEW DELHI: Tightening its noose around journalist Rana Ayubb, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said that it has attached three bank accounts of hers in connection with a money laundering case.
According to ED officials, the Mumbai-based journalist, who is a columnist at US-based Washington Post, allegedly did not utilise the funds that she received to spend on three campaigns and used the same for her personal use and air travel expenses.
ED officials said, probe carried out by the financial probe agency revealed that the funds were raised in the name of charity in a completely pre-planned and systematic manner. He said that the funds that were raised were not utilised completely for the purpose that they were intended for.
The ED case of money laundering is based on the FIR registered in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district Indirapuram police station past year for misappropriation of funds.
The FIR claimed that Ayubb had run three campaigns on the fund-raising website Ketto between April 2020 and June 2021. While one of the campaigns was meant to generate funds for slum dwellers and farmers, the other two were meant for relief work in Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra and assisting Covid-19 impacted people in India.
The three bank HDFC accounts had Rs 1.77 crore, which have been attached. She also created a fixed deposit of Rs 50 lakh from the funds she had raised through Ketto for relief work.
The official said that during probe, it was found that she had raised around Rs 2.7 crore through Ketto and the donations were routed to the bank accounts of her sister and father. “Over Rs 72 lakh was withdrawn in her own bank account while more than Rs 37 lakh was withdrawn in her sister’s account and Rs 1.61 crore in her father’s bank account,” the official said.
“Later, her sister and father transferred those funds to Rana Ayyub’s bank account,” the official said.
The probe also revealed that she submitted the proof of her expenditure totalling Rs 31.16 lakh while after due verification it was found the actual expense was amounting to Rs 17.67 lakh. It also disclosed that she had presented fake bills to claim expenses on relief work. She also deposited Rs 74.5 lakh in PM Cares fund and CM Relief fund.
The official further said that Ayubb also mentioned the details of air travel expenses as expenses for the relief work.
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