No further steps on attached properties of Rana Ayyub, Delhi HC tells ED

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday restrained the Enforcement Directorate from taking further steps against journalist Rana Ayyub on the basis of her assets attached by the central agency in a money laundering case.

The order will stay in effect till the next date of hearing on November 17. Justice Yashwant Varma issued the notice after the journalist filed a petition against her assets being attached.

In her petition filed on Wednesday, Rana Ayyub contended that the provisional order to attach the assets had been passed on 4 February and its validity had expired after completion of 180 days since then.

According to provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Enforcement Directorate no longer has jurisdiction to carry out proceedings against her based on the attached assets, Ayyub said.

The ED has filed a case against Rana Ayyub under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, accusing her of misusing funds collected for charity through an online fundraising platform. In February, the central agency attached Ayyub’s assets worth Rs 1.77 crore, alleging that the money was linked to proceeds of the crime.

On Wednesday, the court also restrained Ayyub from disposing of or creating any third party rights of the attached funds.

The ED’s case is based on an FIR filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police in September.

A Hindutva group called the Hindu IT Cell had filed a complaint against the award winning journalist Rana Ayyub, alleging that she had illegally collected money through Ketto “in the name of charity”. The complaint had alleged that the journalist received foreign funds without government approval.

Rana Ayyub, the vocal critic of Narendra Modi government, had described the allegations as “preposterous, wholly mala fide and belied by record”. They are based on “an intentional misreading of her bank statements”, Ayyub had said.