SC refused to set aside proceedings initiated against Rana Ayyub by a special court under PMLA 2002

SC refused to set aside proceedings initiated against Rana Ayyub by a special court under PMLA 2002

On February 7, the Supreme Court declined to throw out the legal action brought by the Directorate of Enforcement in a money laundering case against journalist and novelist Rana Ayyub by a special court in Ghaziabad under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Ayyub's petition, which argued that the Ghaziabad court lacked jurisdiction over her, was denied on January 31 by a division bench of Justices V. Ramasubramanian and J.B. Pardiwala.

The persecuted journalist's Advocate, Vrinda Grover, contended that the Uttar Pradesh court had "absolutely no jurisdiction" because no portion of the alleged crime was committed in the state.

“The petitioner has never been arrested. Now, she is being dragged to a state where her safety would be most in jeopardy. Can her personal liberty be deprived in a procedure not authorised by law?” the senior counsel asked. However, this argument appeared to not sway the bench, which, while leaving it open to the petitioner to approach the trial court, dismissed the petition. Justice Ramasubramanian pronounced,

“Under Section 3 of PMLA, place where any of six activities or processes are carried out - concealment, possession, acquisition, use, projecting as untainted property, claiming as untainted property, the offence of money laundering is said to have taken place. Navi Mumbai, where the bank account is located, is the destination where the proceeds of crime have reached, if at all. The question as to whether any one or more of the six activities have taken place question of fact which has to be decided based on evidence. Therefore, we leave it open for this issue to be raised before the trial court. Petition dismissed.”

The federal agency investigated Ayyub for allegedly "cheating" the public by stealing charitable donations worth Rs. 2.69 crore and for obtaining donations from abroad without being registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010. A first information report filed in September 2021 by the Indirapuram Police Station in Ghaziabad under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008, and the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 served as the foundation for the investigation. The journalist had run a total of three crowdfunding campaigns on the website Ketto since 2020, raising money for slum dwellers, farmers, relief efforts in Assam, Bihar, and Maharashtra, as well as for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in India. This was of interest to the law enforcement agency.

Case Title: Rana Ayyub v. Directorate of Enforcement 
Citation: Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 12 of 2023

Related stories:-

Plea of Journalist Rana Ayyub challenging the summons issued by PMLA Court listed on January 25


Appearance of the Advocates:-

For Petitioner(s) 
Ms. Vrinda Grover, Adv.
Mr. Soutik Banerjee, Adv.
Mr. Aakarsh Kamra, AOR
Ms. Devika Tulsiani, Adv.
Ms. Mannat Tipnis, Adv.

For Respondent(s) 
Mr. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General
Mr. Mukesh Kumar Maroria, AOR
Mr. Zoheb Hussain, Adv.
Mr. Kanu Agarwal, Adv.
Mr. K. Parmeshwar, Adv.
Mr. Padmesh Mishra, Adv. 

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