The opposition AAP today urged Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore to dismiss state minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who is facing allegations of impropriety in the multi-crore sand mine auctions. The opposition parties have accused the state irrigation and power minister of acquiring sand and gravel mines through benaami transactions in the name of his company’s cook and staff, a charge denied by him.
Leader of opposition in the Assembly H S Phoolka, AAP Punjab chief Bhagwant Mann, co-president Aman Arora, chief whip Sukhpal Khaira and Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains met the Governor here and demanded dismissal of Rana Gurjit. They also appealed to Badnore to intervene in the matter.
The leaders alleged that since its formation, the Congress government in the state has been mired in controversies on day-to-day basis. The state government’s decision to set up a one-man panel of a retired High Court judge with “tailor-made terms of reference” shows that there is a “clear cut attempt to help the minister”, they said, adding the inquiry must be done by a sitting High Court judge.
AAP leader Phoolka said, “Involvement of Rana in the recent e-auctions of sand mines in Punjab have been revealed. His ex-employees, who have deep nexus with him and his business houses, are acting as his frontmen to gain financially by abusing his position.”
A two-day e-auction of sand mines in Punjab held last month culminated with bids worth Rs 1,026 crore secured for 89 mines, the highest ever earnings for the state from sand mining sector. Questions were being raised over the allotment of mining contracts to Amit Bahadur at Saidpur Khurd village in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar for Rs 26.51 crore, Kulvinder Paul Singh at Mehadipur in SBS Nagar for Rs 9.21 crore, Gurinder Singh at Rampur Kalan village in Mohali district for Rs 4.11 crore and Balraj Singh at Bairsal village for Rs 10.58 crore.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had recently ordered the setting up a one-man judicial commission to probe the allegations of impropriety against Rana in the multi-crore sand mining auctions conducted recently by the state government.
The panel would probe all aspects of the allegations of impropriety against Rana, including whether the terms and conditions of the bid were adhered to while awarding the tender of these two mines to Amit Bahadur and Kulvinder Pal Singh.