Arnab Goswami on Friday night held his second debate in as many nights on the Enforcement Directorate probe into money laundering case against journalist Rana Ayyub. Calling it a ‘charity fund scandal,’ the Republic TV founder lashed out at a guest, who was desperately trying to support Ayyub even after the latter confessed to accepting crores of rupees in donations into personal bank accounts held by her father and sister. A visibly angry Goswami mocked his guest’s ignorance as he offered to provide a free education on LIVE TV.
This was after the guest, identified as Anirban, said, “Why did the IT department let her (Ayyub) go? Why did the IT department tax that amount” asked guest Anirban.
Goswami intervened saying that it was time for him to help Anirban as he said sarcastically, “Anirban, whenever I see you on TV I feel like providing you a free education.”
Goswami then addressed his guest, Suhel Seth, repeating his sentence as he said, “Suhel why is it that every time I see Anirban on TV, I feel like voluntarily providing him a free education? He says today why did the Income Tax tax the money.”
According to the Republic TV founder, Ayyub agreed to pay over Rs 1 crore in tax on donations that she collected using the personal bank accounts of her father and sister thinking that this may end her ordeal and she will be allowed to breathe a sigh of relief.
“At this point, she (Ayyub) realises that she’s been caught. She (Ayyub) said ‘listen I am not going to pay any tax on this money because this is not for me, this is for poor people. She said ‘I am not the beneficiary,’ Now that’s a stupid comment to make because it’s lying in your own personal account. The Income Tax taxes her against her will.”
The ED had attached more than Rs. 1.7 crores money belonging to Ayyub and her family after it emerged that the Washington Post columnist had transferred the donation money into a fixed deposit and given away Rs. 74.50 lakh to PM Cares and CM Cares Funds.
In her lengthy statement, Ayyub confessed to accepting crores of rupees including those given by ordinary members of the public as part of their zakat (Islamic charity) into two bank accounts owned by her father and sister. Ayyub also admitted that she had given away a considerably large sum of money collected through donations to help the poor to the PM Cares and CM Cares Funds. This assumed significance in light of constant criticism for the PM Cares Fund in the past. Many believe that she decided to donate the donations to the PM Cares Fund after the government agencies launched its probe into the alleged financial embezzlement by the Washington Post columnist.