The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of journalist Rana Ayyub challenging the summons issued to her by a special PMLA court in Ghaziabad in a money laundering case lodged against her by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The top court said the question related to the fact of the matter is required to be decided on evidence and therefore it leaves it open to raise this issue before the trial court.
“We are dismissing this petition,” the top court said. A bench headed by Justice V Ramasubramanian has heard the matter and reserved the order on Ayyub’s plea against the Ghaziabad court’s order where summons were issued to her in relation to a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case.
Earlier, the apex court had asked the Ghaziabad court to adjourn the case and posted Ayyub’s plea for hearing before it on January 31 against the summons issued by the Ghaziabad court. Ghaziabad court on November 29 last year issued summon to Ayyub and asked her to appear before it on January 27.
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During the hearing, advocate Vrinda Grover appearing for Ayyub told the bench that she is raising a jurisdictional issue that the Ghaziabad court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter. The prosecution complaint ought to have been filed in Mumbai, where the offence is alleged to have taken place, Grover said, adding that the alleged proceeds of the crime are at a bank account in Navi Mumbai and no part of the offence took place in Uttar Pradesh.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, opposed Ayyub’s plea saying that money laundering is not a standalone offence and is linked with the scheduled offence. Mehta said that several persons from Uttar Pradesh have donated to Ayyub’s campaign so a part of the cause of action has arisen in Ghaziabad and Uttar Pradesh.
Solicitor General said that the agency has found that the money received was used for “travel and joy”. In October 2022, the ED had filed a complaint against her before the Ghaziabad court over alleged violations in publicly raising funds.
ED had registered the case on the basis of a complaint registered in September 2021 in Ghaziabad under provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Information Technology Amendment Act and Black Money Act against Ayyub. It was alleged in the FIR that she illegally acquired funds from the general public in the name of charity by launching fundraiser campaigns.
Ayyub received foreign contributions without registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), it was alleged.