An FIR has been registered against controversial journalist Rana Ayyub over money laundering and fraud related to her fundraising campaign. The FIR was filed on 7th September at Indrapuram police station in Ghaziabad in UP in response to a complaint filed by Vikas Sakrityayan of the Hindu IT cell.
The complaint accuses Rana Ayyub of Money Laundering, Cheating, Dishonest Misappropriation of Property, Criminal Breach of Trust by illegally acquiring money from the general public in the name of charity. It says that Rana Ayyub happens to be a journalist by profession and was receiving foreign money without any kind of approval certificate/registration from the government, which is required as per the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. Hence, she liable is also liable for violating the provisions of FCRA, the complaint had stated.
Based on this complaint, the FIR has been registered under sections 403, 406, 418, 420 or the Indian Penal Code (IPC), section 66D of the IT Act and section 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The case relates to three fundraising campaigns Rana Ayyub had conducted on Ketto, Funds for slum dwellers and farmers, Relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra, and Help for Covid-19 impacted people in India. However, doubts were raised on the campaigns since the beginning, as the journalist was accepting foreign donations without the mandatory FCRA approval.
Last month, Ketto had informed the donors of the campaigns that the fundraisings by Rana Ayyub were under the scanner of probe agencies, and a large amount of money still remained unspent, which meant it didn’t reach the intended beneficiaries.
According to the platform, Rana Ayyub had informed them that she had received around ₹2.69 crore in the campaigns, which included ₹1.90 crore from Indian donors and $1.09 lakh in foreign donations. Out of the total ₹2.69 crore collected, she has spent on around ₹1.25 crore, and she is yet to pay ₹90 lakh from the fund as taxes. This means, around ₹1.44 crore is still lying in the accounts. Out of this, ₹90 lakh is tax liability, while the rest ₹54 lakh never reached the intended beneficiaries.
Rana Ayyub had ended her Covid-19 fundraiser for relief work after potential illegality of it was exposed. She had also claimed that she is returning the foreign donations. But the Ketto’s statement last month showed that she had not refunded any such donations from foreign countries.