Delhi HC permits journalist Rana Ayyub to travel abroad with conditions

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court (HC) on Monday allowed Journalist Rana Ayyub to travel abroad and asked her to deposit a certain amount and share the itinerary with a contact number to the probe agency.

Last week, Journalist Rana Ayyub had moved to the Delhi HC challenging Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) decision to stop her from flying abroad.

Journalist Rana Ayyub challenged the Enforcement Directorate’s decision of not to allow her to travel abroad. The Bench of Justice CD Singh on Monday, while lifting the ban on travel restrictions, also observed that she is not accused of siphoning money of thousands of crores.
Meanwhile, arguing for Enforcement Directorate (ED), ASG SV Raju submitted that we apprehend that she may go out and not come back. Our case is not going further. Money siphoned off in the name of COVID relief. Credit card details etc. not provided.

Rana Ayyub’s lawyer Vrinda Grover called it a clear case of harassment and stated that Ayub had fair reasons to come back to India as her family resided here. Why was Ayub not summoned earlier, she raised questions over the Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation.
On the last date of hearing, Enforcement Directorate said charges of money laundering are serious in nature while opposing the journalist Rana Ayyub’s petition seeking quashing of Lookout Circular (LoC) and challenging ED’s decision to stop her from flying abroad.

According to the ED, she received the money in dollars along with Indian rupees for charity and for helping the poor and migrants during the covid period. We have found that the money for relief work has been siphoned off and fake bills have been submitted by her, argued the ED lawyer.
The plea stated that, on March 29, 2022, the petitioner arrived at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to board an Air India flight to London, Heathrow, scheduled to depart at 14:25 hours, to attend events about the global problem of cyber attacks on women journalists, as well as to deliver a keynote speech on the status of journalism in India.

However, at around 12 noon, the petitioner was detained in a room adjacent to the immigration counter, and she was informed that the immigration officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs were seeking clarifications regarding some “remark” on the petitioner’s file.
The petitioner was then informed, over the course of the next hour, that the officers of MHA have instructions from the Enforcement Directorate not to allow the Petitioner to board her flight to London, and the immigration stamp on her passport was stamped as “Cancelled”, plea alleges.

Petitioner journalist alleges that she has been harassed, humiliated, and insulted by the malafide action of the Respondents, and the organizers of the journalist events in London and Italy have also suffered losses and experienced grave inconvenience and disturbance due to the arbitrary detention of the Petitioner at the airport on March 29, 2022. The petitioner is required professionally to frequently travel across the globe, and unreasonable, arbitrary, and mala fide restrictions on such travel are a direct violation of the Petitioner’s right to free speech and expression, and right to practice her profession, as a member of the global and national media fraternity, plea read.
The journalist sought directions from the court to enable her to travel out of India. She also sought quashing of the lookout circular issued against her. (ANI)

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