Journalist Rana Ayyub’s efforts to challenge the petition filed against her by a UP court in a money laundering case has failed as the Supreme Court dismissed her plea on Tuesday.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) lodged a money laundering case against Rana Ayyub, and in response, to this, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ghaziabad issued a petition against her.
As per the Supreme Court, the questions about what happened and what the bottom line is, are necessary to be decided on evidence. Therefore, it leaves the question open to bringing up this matter before the trial court. The top court said that they are dismissing the petition filed by Rana Ayyub.
A bench headed by Justice V Ramasubramanian heard the case, and the order was passed on Rana Ayyub’s plea against the Ghaziabad court’s order.
Journalist Rana Ayyub had brought up the question that the Ghaziabad court has no authority to hear the issue that was, allegedly, taking place in Mumbai.
In response to Rana’s plea, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) representative said in the court that money laundering is not the only offense that was committed, and the issue is connected with other scheduled offenses.
He also added that this issue incorporates many people from Uttar Pradesh who have also donated some amount to Rana Ayyub’s campaign. These money donations were supposedly being misused, according to the ED.
The Supreme Court had previously posted Ayyub’s plea hearing on January 31, 2024, and the Ghaziabad court hearing was adjourned for the time being.
During the hearing, Rana Ayyub’s advocate Vrinda Grover laid down all the reasons why the Ghaziabad court has no authority and jurisdiction to hold a hearing on this issue.
Advocate Vrinda Grover said that the complaint should have been filed in Mumbai because it is the location of the supposed offense that took place. The bank account that received the donated amount and was involved in the exploitation of funds was regulated in Navi Mumbai. She also stated that no activity relating to the alleged offense went down in Uttar Pradesh.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, countered the reasons stated by saying that the case was connected to many other offenses. He mentioned that the funds received in the campaign were geared towards “travel and joy”.
The issue started when a PMLA court in Ghaziabad released an order on November 29, 2022, to summon Rana Ayyub and asked her to be present before it on January 27, 2024.
THE START OF RANA AYYUB’S FALL
Last year in October, the ED filed a complaint before the Gazhiabad court against the journalist over apparent violations in publicly raising money. The case was lodged in response to a complaint registered in September 2021 in Ghaziabad under specifications of the IPC’s Black Money Act and IT Act against Rana Ayyub.
In the FIR, it was reported that Ayyub had illegally collected funds from the general public in the name of charity by organizing fundraiser campaigns. It also mentioned that she accepted foreign donations without registering them under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
As per the ED investigation, Ayyub organized three fundraiser campaigns and received total funds estimated ₹2.69 crores. These campaigns were organized in the name of raising funds for farmers and slum dwellers, to help people impacted by COVID-19 in India, and funds for relief work for Bihar, Assam, and Maharashtra.
The ED said that the funds raised were deposited in her sister’s and father’s bank accounts. Once the funds were received in these two accounts they were then subsequently transferred to her bank accounts.