Fascism is on the rise in Modi’s India. Washington Post intern turned columnist Rana Ayyub, accused in a money laundering case was allegedly stopped from fleeing India on Wednesday at the immigration window of Mumbai airport while attempting to board a flight to London.
Rana took to twitter to share her ‘ordeal’ when she was all set to deliver her speech on ‘intimidation of journalists in London. She tweeted, “I was stopped today at the Indian immigration while I was about to board my flight to London to deliver my speech on the intimidation of journalists with @ICFJ. I was to travel to Italy right after to deliver the keynote address at the @journalismfest on the Indian democracy”
All these events with @julieposetti @DoughtyStIntl @journalismfest have been planned and publicised all over my social media for weeks. Yet, curiously the Enforcement directorate summon arrived in my mail much after I was stopped at the immigration. What do you fear ?
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) March 29, 2022
It is pertinent to note that Enforcement Directorate is currently investigating the violation of foreign funding rules by Rana Ayyub while collecting donations for COVID-19 relief in the last two years. In February 2020, ED had attached assets worth Rs 1.77 crore of Ayyub over allegations of violation of provisions of the Money Laundering Act.
Ever since the case landed on ED’s net, a lookout notice had been issued against Ayyub. Once a lookout notice is issued, the border security authorities (air, road, and sea) are informed to stop the person from leaving the country. However, Rana, in clear violation of the notice attempted to flee the country and when caught, played the victim card.
Rana Ayyub siphoning Covid donation money
As reported extensively by TFI, Ayyub raised a total of over Rs. 2.6 crore through three fundraising campaigns at different times in 2020 and 2021 which include funds for slum dwellers and farmers (during April- May 2020), relief work for Assam, Bihar, and Maharashtra (during June- Sept 2020), and help for Covid-19 impacted people in India (during May-June 2021).
A part of the funds was parked in the bank accounts of her father and sister, which were subsequently transferred to her account. This money was never meant for personal use and therefore it rightfully came under scrutiny.
Read More: Rana Ayyub was a disruptor in the liberal outcry industry, and her comrades are never going to help her
FCRA violations by Ayyub
ED remarked that fake bills were prepared by Ayyub to claim expenses for relief work. Not only this but Ayyub is also accused of several FCRA violations by the financial probe agency. She allegedly received foreign donations without taking a prior FCRA clearance and also failed to report receiving an amount of around Rs 75-80 lakh to the Union Home Ministry as per the FCRA.
Terming the funds raised and misused by Rana Ayyub as “proceeds of crime”, the ED order stated that Rana Ayyub knowingly indulged in “Proceeds of Crime including its acquisition, possession, use and projecting it as untainted property and therefore, she has committed the offence of money laundering as defined under section 3 of the Act, 2002 which is punishable under section 4 of the Act”.
Ayyub donates to PM cares to mislead the investigation
When Rana Ayyub’s statement was recorded by the ED, she allegedly told the investigators that she roughly spent Rs 60 to Rs 70 lakh for relief work. However, ED has alleged that when they analysed the bank statements and credit card expenditure, the amount spent on relief work was Rs 28 lakh.
ED sources claim that Rana Ayyub, during her questioning, failed to explain certain expenditures and why she did not utilize the donations.
Read More: Dear Washington Post, sack Rana Ayyub
Moreover, even Rana Ayyub’s coterie has cast aspersions over her intentions after it was revealed that she had also donated Rs 74.5 lakh to PM Cares and to relief funds of chief ministers. The ED suspects this donation was an “afterthought”, as Ayyub had actively orchestrated a hate campaign against those donating to the PM Cares Fund.
Rana Ayyub must have smelled the coffee and was attempting to evade the clutches of authorities. However, the government on its toes ensured that Rana was not allowed to leave the country.
A truly democratic government would have allowed Ayyub to flee the country but being the barbaric, fascist, demonic, Hindu nationalist government that Modi has installed, she was stalled. The UN should release another condemnation letter and thrash the Indian government for silencing those speaking truth to power.