The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Enforcement Directorate to respond to the petition filed by journalist Rana Ayyub, who was stopped from flying to Europe Tuesday, against the lookout circular issued against her by the ED.
The ED is probing Rana Ayyub in connection with a case of alleged money laundering.
In the petition before the court, Ayyub has said that almost two hours after she was detained at the Mumbai International Airport, the ED emailed summons to her directing her to remain present before it on 1 April.
Ayyub was represented by advocate Vrinda Grover.
The information sought in the summons is a “verbatim copy” of the information already sought in the summons dated 25 January and is a “sham exercise” to justify the arbitrary action of denying her the right to travel, Rana Ayyub told the court.
Ayyub has argued that she has responded to each and every summoned issued by the ED, joining nvestigation and providing the necessary documents.
The plea further read: “The petitioner being a journalist who speaks truth to power, is at times perceived to be a source of some discomfort or inconvenience for the government but that is no ground to deny the petitioner her right to travel abroad and exercise her freedom of speech and expression, as well as to practice her profession as a journalist.”
Meanwhile, press freedom bodies and several journalists have expressed their solidarity with award winning journalist Rana Ayyub after she was prevented from flying to Europe to speak about intimidation of journalists and rights in India.
International Center for Journalists said that it is alarmed at the blatant legal harassment of Rana Ayyub by Indian authorities.
The International Press Institute also joins the wave of solidarity with Rana Ayyub. “The prominent journalist and critic of Modi’s govt has been detained when she was to board her flight to London. We urge #India to #LetRanaFly to Europe where she is scheduled to speak on online harassment at several intl events,” IPI tweeted.
Mumbai Press Club said they “unequivocally condemn the ham handed way in which Rana Ayyub was prevented from flying to London to speak on the intimidation of journalists in India by a last-minute summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate.”
Rana Ayyub, independent journalist and human rights defender, continues to be the target of intensifying online harassment by far-right Hindu nationalist groups.