Journalist Rana Ayyub stopped from boarding London flight over money laundering casetext_fields
New Delhi: Journalist Rana Ayyub on Tuesday said that she was stopped at Mumbai airport from boarding a flight to London. She was stopped from travelling abroad because the Enforcement Directorate has issued a lookout notice for her in a money laundering case, NDTV reported.
"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) summons very curiously arrived in my inbox after I was stopped," Ms Ayyub tweeted.
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.
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 ₹ 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 for which they were raised.