Journalist Rana Ayyub is accused of defrauding the public, and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. According to reports, on Wednesday, a designated court in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, received the charge sheet, which accuses Rana Ayyub.

On the basis of an FIR filed by the UP Police in 2021, the investigative agency ED opened a money laundering investigation. Rana Ayyub is charged with illegally soliciting donations from the public under the guise of charity.

Rana Ayyub is accused by the ED of starting three campaigns and raising millions of dollars using the online crowdfunding website Ketto.

According to investigation officials, the three initiatives are funding for farmers and slum dwellers (from April to May 2020), disaster aid for Assam, Bihar, and Maharashtra (from June to September 2020), and assistance for persons affected by CAVID-19 in India (during May-June 2021).

“Sole intention to cheat public’, ED files charge sheet against Rana AyyubThrough three campaigns, Rana Ayyub raised Rs 2.69 crore in donations, of which Rs 80.49 lakh came from overseas. Rana Ayyub eventually refunded the foreign contributions after the Income Tax agency opened an investigation into potential violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA).

According to the ED, Rana Ayyub fraudulently raised $2.69 million through three campaigns that misled the public under the guise of charity.

According to ED, money raised online was received in her father’s and sister’s accounts before being moved to her own accounts. Additionally, she only used the money to transfer another Rs. 50 lakh to a new bank account and construct an Rs. 50 lakh fixed deposit for herself. For relief efforts, only Rs 29 lakh was used.

ED stated, “In order to claim more expenses towards relief work, fake bills were submitted by Rana Ayyub.” The ED attached Rana Ayyub’s $1.77 million in February of this year, including a $50,000 fixed deposit.

ED in its charge sheet mentioned, “ED Investigation has established that Rana Ayyub had launched the aforesaid campaigns with the sole intention to cheat the general public and acquired Proceeds of Crime in the form of FD and balances in bank accounts projecting them as untainted.”

Islamist journalist Rana Ayyub criticized the ED investigation against her and had said, “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. Such allegations are preposterous, mala fide, and belied by the record, and are a deliberate misreading of my bank statements.”

According to sources in ED, some of the funds raised through donations were allegedly used for personal needs, including a vacation. According to ED sources, Rana Ayyub was unable to provide an explanation for why she had not used the donations and some of the expenses during questioning.

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