Journalist Rana Ayyub moved Delhi High Court on Wednesday against the attachment of funds by Enforcement Directorate.
The plea 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, and 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 the proceedings before the Adjudication Authority after the expiry of 180 days from the date of Provisional Attachment are wholly without jurisdiction, and the Petitioner can thus seek invocation of the writ remedy under article 226 of the Constitution of India.
The bench of Justice Yashwant Varma on Wednesday tagged the matter with a batch of petitions having similar prays and which are already examined by the court. The court listed the matter for November 17, 2022. Meanwhile, Court passed an interim order which was passed in similar batch matters.
Enforcement Directorate in the month of February had attached her assets worth Rs 1.77 crore in connection with alleged irregularities in the collection of charitable funds for COVID relief work.
According to the ED, the investigations made 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 utilized completely for the purpose of which the funds were raised.
ED stated that the FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint dated August 28, 2021, made by Vikas Sankrityayan residence of Ghaziabad, U.P.
ED further stated that the said FIR discloses that Rana Ayyub raised huge amounts running in crores via the 'Ketto' platform (which is an online crowdfunding platform) in three campaigns i.e. Funds for slum dwellers and farmers during April- May 2020, Relief work for Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra during June- September 2020 and Help for Covid-19 impacted people in India during May-June 2021.
The Delhi High Court in April had permitted Journalist Rana Ayyub to travel abroad and said there is no cogent reason for presuming that the Petitioner (Rana Ayyub) would not appear before the Investigation Agency and hence, no case is made out for issuing the impugned Lookout Circular (LOC).
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. (ANI)