Journalist Rana Ayyub was stopped from flying to London today as she is an accused in an alleged money laundering case, which is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.
Ms Ayyub was stopped at Mumbai airport before she could board a flight to London.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating alleged violation of foreign funding rules by Ms Ayyub while collecting donations for COVID-19 relief.
The journalist, however, tweeted the Enforcement Directorate’s summons “very curiously” reached her inbox only after she was stopped at Mumbai airport.
“I was stopped today at Mumbai immigration from travelling to deliver this address and onwards to International Journalism Festival to deliver the keynote speech on Indian democracy. I had made this announcement public over weeks, yet the ED (Enforcement Directorate) summon very curiously arrived in my inbox after I was stopped,” Ms Ayyub tweeted.
I was stopped today at Mumbai immigration from travelling to deliver this address & onwards to @journalismfest to deliver d keynote speech on Indian democracy. I had made this announcement public over weeks, yet the ED summon very curiously arrived in my inbox after i was stopped https://t.co/BGNm8pcjlD
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) March 29, 2022
The Washington-based non-profit, International Centre for Journalists, had invited Ms Ayyub to the UK for a discussion on online violence against women journalists. Ms Ayyub has often tweeted she faced online harassment and death threats from trolls.
The Enforcement Directorate has summoned her for questioning on April 1.
The money laundering case against Ms Ayyub is based on a First Information Report or FIR filed by Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad Police in September, by a Vikas Sankrityayan – the founder of an NGO called “Hindu IT Cell” and a resident of Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.
According to a document attributed to “ED sources”, the agency which investigates financial crimes found that the journalist had raised over Rs 2.69 crore through an online crowdfunding platform called Ketto for charitable purposes between 2020 and 2021.
Ms Ayyub has maintained the “entire donation received through Ketto is accounted for and not a single paisa has been misused”.
However, the ED alleged its probe makes it abundantly clear that the funds were raised in the name of charity in a completely pre-planned and systematic manner, and the funds were not used completely for the purpose of which the funds were raised.