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Journalist Rana Ayyub, who was being investigated in the money laundering case, moved the Delhi high court on Wednesday against the attachment of funds by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Rana Ayyub's petition against the attachment of funds by the ED stated that Provisional Attachment Order dated 04.02.2022 has lapsed and ceases to exist upon expiry of 180 days from the date of the Order. It also said that the proceedings before the Adjudicating Authority, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, are no longer maintainable as the authority is rendered functus officio.

The plea further stated that after the expiry date of 180 days from the day of provisional attachment, the proceedings before the Adjudication Authority are wholly without jurisdiction. The plea said the petitioner can seek invocation of the writ remedy under article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The bench of Justice Yashwant Varma tagged Rana Ayyub's matter with a batch of petitions that have the similar pleas. They have already been examined by the court. The next hearing in the court is scheduled for November 17, 2022. 

In February, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had attached journalist Rana Ayyub's assets worth 1.77 crore. The assets were attached in connection with alleged irregularities in the collection of funds for Covid-19 relief work.

The law enforcement agency has alleged that the funds were collected in the name of charity in a “completely pre-planned and systematic manner". It said the funds were not used completely.

The ED has said that an FIR was registered after a complained was filed by Vikas Sankrityayan residence of Ghaziabad, UP on August 28, 2021.

DETAILS OF FIR

The FIR states that Rana Ayyub raised crores via the 'Ketto' platform (an online crowdfunding platform) in three campaigns.

The campaigns were (1) Funds for slum dwellers and farmers during April-May 2020, (2) Relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra during June- September 2020 and (3) Help for Covid-19 impacted people in India during May-June 2021.

In April, the Delhi high court had permitted Journalist Rana Ayyub to travel abroad, while stating that there was no reason for presuming that the journalist wouldn't appear before the investigation agency.

The court had said the impugned LOC is accordingly liable to be set aside as being devoid of merits as well as for infringing the Human right of the Petitioner to travel abroad and to exercise her freedom of speech and expression. For the reasons discussed above, the impugned LOC is set aside and quashed.

(With agency inputs)

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