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‘No Part of Relief Campaign Fund Remains Unaccounted for’: Journalist Rana Ayyub

It alludes to three crowdfunding campaigns initiated by Ayyub between April 2020-June 2021 and facilitated by Ketto.

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India
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Journalist and Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub on Friday, 11 February, refuted the Enforcement Directorate’s allegations of misappropriation of funds raised via crowdfunding platform Ketto and said that “no part of the relief campaign fund remains unaccounted for and there is absolutely no scope for any remote allegation of misuse of the funds for personal expenses.”

The case, registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the Ghaziabad Police, is based on an FIR from September 2021, which alleges irregularities in Ayyub's funds.

It alludes to three crowdfunding campaigns initiated by the journalist between April 2020-June 2021, facilitated by the virtual platform Ketto.

"She allegedly didn't utilise donations meant for three campaigns for right purpose. Parts of donations were allegedly used for personal expenses," an ED official was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
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Financial Accounts of Funds

Ayyub's statement shared via Twitter, says: “In my three public campaigns undertaken on Ketto, I had raised a total of Rs 2,69,44,679 (about 26.9 million). I have provided all bills and invoices for the relief work undertaken by me, which is to the tune of Rs 40 lakh.”

She said that she donated Rs 74.50 lakh to CM-CARES fund of Maharashtra and to the PM-CARES Fund for relief work across India after a public-funded hospital in New Delhi refused her donation of a cheque of Rs 90 lakh.

“Thus, out of the total Rs 2.69 crore received a total of 1 crore, 14 lakh and 50 thousand rupees was utilised for relief work as explained above. Another Rs 1 crore and 5 lakh was levied and collected as tax by the Income Tax Department. This accounts for Rs 2 crore 19 lakh and 50 thousand out of the total funds raised.”
Rana Ayyub

Ayyub also said that during the second wave, she was in talks with NGOS to up a makeshift COVID hospital for which she created a Fixed Deposit of Rs 50 lakh. She was also in talks with a medical facility introduced by Ketto.

She added, “The remaining amount, which comes to little less than Rs 50 lakh is also accounted for as I had made a Fixed Deposit of Rs 50 lakh for the field hospital, which I have stated above. I reiterate that my claims are supported by documents which I have placed before the authorities.”

'No Foreign Donations Were Received': Ayyub

She clarified that all donors made donations to Ketto’s bank account which would forward the same to the designated bank accounts for relief work who in turn would transfer the entire amount to Ayyub’s bank account.

She said that no foreign donations were received by her or the two designated bank accounts as all the donations were received first in Ketto’s bank account which would send the amount for relief campaigns in Indian currency.

“My instructions to Ketto were that any money received in foreign currency, should be returned back to the donor, and the relief work was carried out with only domestic contributions.”
Rana Ayyub

She said that such allegations are preposterous, wholly mala fide and belied by record, and is a deliberate misreading of my bank statements.

“I am confident that the allegations levelled against me will not withstand any fair and honest scrutiny.”

Journalist and author Maria Ressa said on Friday that she stand sin support with Rana Ayyub.

She tweeted, "I stand with Rana Ayyub, who's under sustained attack in India in ways that are too familiar to me: hideous online violence; credible threats of physical violence; state-linked, disinformation-laced attacks; open 'lawfare'.

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