On May 29, it was reported that alleged journalist Rana Ayyub ended her fundraiser and refunded foreign donations after potential illegalities were exposed in her campaign. It was mentioned in the reports that the money will be received by her in her personal account. The controversy had erupted after it was learnt that Ayyub was receiving the donations in her personal bank account, including foreign currency donations. It was a clear violation of law only FCRA registered NGOs can receive donations from other countries.
But after ending the campaign, she has denied that the money was being received in her personal bank account. As a rebuttal, Ayyub claimed that the account mentioned on Ketto’s fundraiser page is not her bank account, but it was Ketto’s account that they create for every fundraiser.
In her fundraiser, the beneficiaries were mentioned as “Migrant Workers”. The bank account that Ketto created for the fundraiser said, “Migrant Workers-Ketto”. However, when Twitter user Parixit raised concerns about the fundraiser, he added a screenshot of the payment made to the fundraiser. The receipt clearly stated that it was a ‘Personal’ fundraiser, and the owner of the fundraiser was Rana Ayyub. Also, the payment was not eligible for tax exemption under 80G.
This can be further verified by receipt too which clearly says FUND TYPE=PERSONAL & the donation is NOT eligible for tax exemption(80G).
In this crisis, a donation is a noble cause but how come NO accountability or records of such huge fundraising?
— The Hawk Eye (@parixit111) May 9, 2021
Now, coming to the next point, where would she withdraw the funds? There cannot be an account by the name of Migrant Workers that she has opened in any bank. She would either withdraw in her personal account (savings or current), or she would withdraw it to her NGO account. If it was to be withdrawn to her NGO’s account, why its name was not mentioned anywhere?
When we scrolled her profile, there were videos and photographs of relief work she has been doing. She is collecting funds for the said work, so we can safely assume she has withdrawn some funds from the Ketto account so far. If she has withdrawn the funds, they would have gone to some bank account. That bank account would be her personal/current/NGO account, but that should have been mentioned in the campaign itself. Otherwise, the money she collected will stay in the fundraiser unused if she is not withdrawing it to any of her accounts.
Assuming Rana Ayyub is not aware of what Ketto says about the donations a fundraiser receives, we are reproducing the norms how fundraising campaigns. Please note that the information stated below is available on Ketto’s website, it is accessible to the public.
The bank account displayed with a fundraiser
First of all, let’s talk about the bank account on the fundraiser page. Rana Ayyub is correct that the account mentioned there does not belong directly to her, and it is Ketto’s account. In the FAQs section on Ketto, it says, “The account number is a virtual UPI account created for your fundraiser through which donors can donate via NEFT mechanism it is not a bank account.”
It further adds, “It is just another method to transact–all donations via this method will show up on your donor list and dashboard. Please note the UPI account is only valid for the given fundraiser and is not a new bank account created with yes bank, it is only a virtual account created on Ketto for your fundraiser to accept donations via NEFT. “
It is logical that Ketto won’t open a new bank account for every single fundraising campaign launched on its platform, that won’t be feasible and practical. Therefore, they are using the provision of virtual UPI. Ketto has tied up with Yes Bank to provide such virtual accounts.
How money is withdrawn
While the donated money is collected in the virtual UPI account created by Ketto, the fundraiser platform does not hand over the money directly to the beneficiaries. The operator of the fundraiser has to transfer the amount from Ketto’s account to their own accounts, from where they can use or distribute the money as per the objective of the campaign.
According to Ketto, the money goes directly into the bank account associated with the fundraiser. In this case, that would be Ayyub’s personal or current account depending on which account’s information she provided to Ketto. In Rana Ayyub’s case this means, Ketto won’t transfer the money directly to Migrant Workers, she or her organisation will have to get the money transferred to their own account.
There are two types of fundraisers on Ketto. One created by individuals and the other created by NGOs or for NGOs by individuals. If the campaigner and the beneficiary of any campaign are the same, the person can withdraw the funds based on the “available funds for withdrawal” in the dashboard. It has to be noted that any local funds received via Ketto will take two to three working days to be available for withdrawal. In the case of foreign funds, it may take up to seven working days for the same.
Ketto says to proceed with the withdrawal, it is mandatory to upload all the necessary documents related to the bank account. As Migrant Workers in the said campaign do not have a single bank account, and they won’t have access to the campaign to upload their documents on the website, Ayyub must have withdrawn them to her personal or current account. After all, her team can be seen packing and delivering relief material in the photos and videos, which means she had encashed the amount and used that to purchase relief materials.
In the other case, if an NGO has been chosen as a beneficiary, the fundraiser can only send a reminder to the NGO who would provide the necessary documents and withdraw the funds. Now, either Ayyub has created an NGO with the name Migrant Workers where she would withdraw the funds, or she would withdraw it in her personal or current account. In any case, Rana Ayyub will need to transfer the fund from the accounts of Ketto to her own bank account to use it. It is not possible that she does not know these rules of Ketto, as she has run multiple fundraising campaigns, and had used the money collected.
Allegations on OpIndia of derailing relief work
Some of her followers have alleged that OpIndia is trying to derail the relief work. At OpIndia, we believe that everyone should get a fair chance at life. During a pandemic, many people have lost their jobs or lost savings due to medical bills or could not manage the situation properly. These people deserve help, support and love from everyone who can provide them anything in any way. We are not discouraging anyone from doing relief work.
However, we also believe that on the pretext of relief work, no one should be allowed to break the law. Ayyub might not be aware of the FCRA norms, and we appreciate she refunded the amount. However, it seems she is confused about how Ketto works. Thus we would like to request her to get complete information on how Ketto or any fundraiser works.