The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Enforcement Directorate to submit a status report on a plea filed by journalist Rana Ayyub against the central agency’s action to restrain her from travelling abroad, Bar and Bench reported.

On Thursday, Ayyub had moved the Delhi High Court, challenging a lookout notice issued by the Enforcement Directorate, which restricted her from leaving the country. Her counsel had also sought an early hearing as Ayyub has to travel to London and Italy due to prior commitments. Ayyub had said that she has a flight on Friday.

But on Friday, Justice Chandra Dhari Singh of the Delhi High Court, posted the case for further hearing on Monday, Live Law reported.

On Tuesday, the 37-year-old journalist had said that she had been stopped at Mumbai airport from boarding a flight to London. An hour before the departure, the Enforcement Directorate sent Ayyub a summons to appear on Friday.

Ayyub told that she had an event to attend on Friday, April 1 with some of the top jurors, editors and diplomats in London. On the same day, she was to speak at The Guardian’s office at the invitation of the newspaper’s Editor Katharine Viner. Then on April 6 and 7, she was to be in Italy to attend an event called the International Journalism Festival.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Ayyub, told the court on Friday that the look out notice against Ayyub had been issued out of “mala fide intent”, Bar and Bench reported.

ED case against Rana Ayyub

The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a first information report filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police in September.

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

Agency officials had told PTI that Ayyub raised Rs 2,69,44,680 on Ketto. The Enforcement Directorate had also claimed that she created a fixed deposit of Rs 50 lakh from the funds she had raised but did not use it for relief work.

According to a report published by PTI, the Enforcement Directorate had issued a provisional order “to attach a Rs 50-lakh worth fixed deposit and the rest amount kept as bank deposits and held in two accounts of a private bank in Navi Mumbai”.

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

She had said her personal bank account could not be used as Ketto required a physical copy of her permanent account number, or PAN card, to be furnished immediately. The document was unavailable at the time, Ayyub had said.

“In these circumstances, as I thought that aid to Covid-19 ravaged families should not be delayed, I gave Ketto the details and documents relating to my father and sister’s bank accounts,” she had said.

The journalist had added that she received no foreign contributions as defined under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.