The Delhi High Court today allowed the Petition filed by Rana Ayyub, permitting her to travel abroad, while clarifying that it will impose appropriate conditions for the travel.
The Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh passed the order today after hearing a petition filed by columnist Rana Ayyub challenging the action of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in restraining her from travelling abroad.
Advocate Vrinda Grover who appeared for Rana Ayyub submitted that Ayyub had appeared before the ED on Friday and was questioned at length. She also argued that the summons was received fourteen minutes after Ayyub was detained at the airport.
Vrinda Grover also alleged that ED is acting based on extraneous considerations and that Ayyub is cooperating with the investigation.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appeared for the ED and submitted that Rana Ayyub has not given the documents sought by the ED. He also submitted that there is an apprehension that Ayyub may not return if she is permitted to go abroad. The ASG also said that no person fleeing from the law would admit to any plan to do so. He added that Ayyub is not cooperating with the agency in the investigation.
The Court asked the ASG as to why the agency is not arresting the Petitioner if it is their case that she is not cooperating.
The Court said that it will ask Ayyub to inform particulars of travel, contact information, place of stay etc. as conditions for permitting her to travel abroad.
In February 2022, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 1.77 crore of Rana Ayyub for violation of provisions of the Money Laundering Act. The order of attachment issued by the ED said, "Rana Ayyub has cheated the general Public Donors in a pre-planned manner and with the intention to cheat the general public donors".
She was stopped from flying to London on last Tuesday at the Mumbai airport. "I was stopped today at the Indian immigration while I was about to board my flight to London to deliver my speech on the intimidation of journalists with @ICFJ. I was to travel to Italy right after to deliver the keynote address at the @journalismfest on the Indian democracy", she had said on Twitter.
As per her plea, she was detained for almost two hours at the airport and was summed by email to appear before it on April 1. The matter was mentioned on Thursday before the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla and the Bench had agreed to hear the matter today.
Earlier, the Court had directed the Enforcement Directorate to file a status report.