The Delhi High Court on Monday allowed journalist Rana Ayyub to leave the country, days after the Enforcement Directorate had stopped her from boarding a flight to London based on a lookout circular against her, Bar and Bench reported.
Ayyub had moved the court, challenging the agency’s lookout notice sent to her in connection with a money laundering case.
On Friday, the High Court had sought a response from the central agency for restraining Ayyub from travelling abroad.
On March 29, Ayyub had said that she had been stopped at Mumbai airport while she was heading for a flight to London. An hour before the departure, she said, she was issued a summons by the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it on Friday.
In a plea to the court, her counsel submitted that the agency’s direction preventing her from travelling abroad “be quashed and set aside”, Live Law reported.
Allowing her plea on Monday, Justice Chandra Dhari Singh put forth a few conditions.
“Deposit some money,” Singh said, reported Live Law. “Also inform agencies, where you’re staying. Share phone number, etc.”
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Ayyub, said that her client has constantly been in touch with the agency and is willing to be present for questioning, Bar and Bench reported.
Ayyub told Scroll.in 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. On April 6 and 7, she is to be in Italy to attend an event called the International Journalism Festival.
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 also added that she received no foreign contributions as defined under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.