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Supreme Court directs Ghaziabad court to postpone hearing in PMLA case against Rana Ayyub till January 31

Supreme Court made it clear that it has instructed the Ghaziabad court to postpone the hearing as it can't hear the case before 31 January, and this has nothing to do with the merit of the case.

Journalist Rana Ayyub’s appeal against the summonses issued by a Ghaziabad court in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case will be heard by the Supreme Court on January 31. Accordingly, the Ghaziabad court was instructed by the top court to postpone the hearing scheduled for January 27 and schedule it for after January 31.

On Monday, The Supreme Court announced, that it would hear a petition brought by journalist Rana Ayyub challenging the summons issued to her by the Ghaziabad Court in a PMLA case involving the misappropriation of cash for Covid-19 victims on January 25. However, the Supreme Court made it clear that it has instructed the Ghaziabad court to postpone the hearing as it can’t hear the case before 31 January, and this has nothing to do with the merit of the case.

Ayyub’s attorney, Vrinda Grover, informed the Supreme Court bench composed of justices Krishna Murari and V. Ramasubramanian that the petitioner had been summoned by the Ghaziabad court and asked for a halt of the punitive measures. The attorney said that she is contesting the court’s ability to hear this case and its jurisdiction, adding that no aspect of the offence took place in Uttar Pradesh. Grover asserted that her client’s liberty was in jeopardy and also questioned ED’s right to haul her before any court in the nation.

The ED’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta disagreed with her arguments. Mehta stated that crowdfunding is a new method of raising money and questioned why she was not able to request anticipatory bail like all other litigants.  Before the law, every petitioner is on an equal footing, he said.

Following the hearing of the arguments, the bench said that it will hear the matter on January 31 and asked the Ghaziabad Special Court to postpone the hearing scheduled for January 27 till after January 31. The highest court emphasized that this ruling is being made because the hearing before it cannot be finished today owing to a lack of time and is not being made on the basis of merits.

In a charge sheet issued in October of last year, the ED accused Ayyub of defrauding the public, using charity donations worth Rs. 2.69 crore to create her own personal assets, and breaking the law on foreign contributions.

Ayyub filed a petition with the supreme court asking for the cancellation of the actions taken by the ED in Ghaziabad. The motion argued that the alleged money laundering offence took place in Mumbai but cited lack of jurisdiction.

In November of last year, a special PMLA court in Ghaziabad took cognizance of the prosecution complaint submitted by the Enforcement Directorate and summoned Ayyub. According to the special court, there is sufficient evidence from a review of the whole record to establish a case prima facie against Rana Ayyub for the conduct of an offence.

The special court has highlighted the alleged offence is related to fraudulently generating significant sums of money in her sister’s and father’s bank accounts, then moving those funds to her own bank account, which she then used for purposes other than those for which they were originally intended, during three campaigns on the “Ketto” platform, an online platform for crowdsourcing donations.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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