In a money laundering case brought by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the special PMLA court in Ghaziabad has been ordered to call journalist Rana Ayyub. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court requested that the case be continued to a date beyond January 31.
The plea filed by Ayyub contesting the summons she received from the special court will be heard by the highest court on January 31.
On January 31st, list. A panel of Justices Krishna Murari and V Ramasubramanian said, "In the meantime, the Ghaziabad special court is urged to delay the proceedings...fixed for January 27 to a day after January 31.
Ayyub's attorney, Vrinda Grover, informed the bench that the petitioner has been called by the special court in Ghaziabad on January 27.
According to the highest court, this ruling was issued since there was not enough time to complete the hearing on Ayyub's plea before it on Wednesday.
Ayyub has asked for the proceedings started by the ED in Ghaziabad to be dismissed in her writ suit on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction since the alleged money laundering offense took place in Mumbai.
The special PMLA court in Ghaziabad had summoned Ayyub on November 29 of last year after taking note of the prosecution case submitted by the ED.
According to Sections 45 and 44 of the 2002 Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the ED charge sheet was submitted.
"I have read the aforementioned prosecution complaint and the supporting documents, including statements, that were filed.
The special court judge had said, "From a perusal of the whole record, there is adequate evidence as to a prima facie case for taking cognizance of Ms. Rana Ayyub with reference to conduct of crime."
The special court had stated that Ayyub's alleged crime involved taking money illegally from members of the public through Ketto, an online platform for crowdfunding, in three campaigns without any approval, raising a sizeable sum in the bank accounts of her sister and father, and transferring it into her own bank account, which was not used for the intended purpose.
The ED filed a charge sheet against Ayyub on October 12 of last year, accusing her of defrauding the public and utilizing the Rs 2.69 crore she received in charity to create personal assets in addition to breaking the rule on foreign contributions.
In a statement, the ED said that Rana Ayyub "initiated three fundraising charity initiatives on the 'Ketto platform' beginning in April 2020 and raised contributions totaling Rs 2,69,44,680."
The initiatives, it had said, were supposed to collect cash for slum dwellers and farmers, relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra, and enable Ayyub and her team support individuals touched by COVID-19 in India.
"Ayyub used these monies to open a 50 lakh rupee fixed deposit for herself as well as to transfer 50 lakh rupees to a new bank account. Only roughly Rs 29 lakh, according to investigations, was spent for relief efforts, the ED had said.
"Fake invoices were presented by Ayyub in an effort to claim higher costs for relief work, and as a result, bank balances in Ayyub's accounts totaling Rs 1,77,27,704 (including FD of Rs 50 Lakh) were attached under the PMLA through a provisional attachment order dated February 4, 2022," it had said.
On the basis of a FIR filed against Ayyub on September 7, 2021 by the Indirapuram Police Station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, under the IPC, the Information Technology Amendment Act of 2008, and the Black Money Act, the ED launched a money laundering investigation.
Ayyub was accused of receiving foreign donations without filing an FCRA report, according to the complaint.
The Delhi High Court had stopped the ED from continuing with the temporary attachment of cash in connection with the investigation against her on August 17 of last year.
The Delhi High Court granted Ayyub permission to leave the country on April 4 of last year and questioned the ED on a Look Out Circular (LOC) that had been issued against her prohibiting her from leaving the country.
In accordance with the "Look Out Circular" issued against her, the ED prevented Ayyub from boarding a flight to London from the Mumbai airport in March.