1. Mining contract row: AAP to hold protests across Punjab

Mining contract row: AAP to hold protests across Punjab

The AAP today said it will hold demonstrations in Punjab demanding the sacking of minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who is facing impropriety allegations in the multi-crore sand mine auctions, from the Amarinder Singh cabinet.

By: | Chandigarh | Published: June 3, 2017 5:50 PM
Mining contract row, Mining contract, AAP, protests across Punjab, Punjab, Rana Gurjit Singh, Lok Insaaf Party, corruption Rana Gurjit Singh. (Image: IE)

The AAP today said it will hold demonstrations in Punjab demanding the sacking of minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who is facing impropriety allegations in the multi-crore sand mine auctions, from the Amarinder Singh cabinet. Describing the judicial inquiry initiated into the allegations as “farce, pre-determined and a mere eye wash”, the party alleged that the Congress government in the state is “hell-bent” upon saving the tainted minister. AAP state co-president Aman Arora alleged, “Involvement of cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh in the recent e-auction of sand mines has been exposed.”

“Instead of taking any action against Rana Gurjit, the government is hell-bent upon saving him by appointing a single-judge commission to inquire the matter. The panel member’s proximity to the minister’s family is well known,” the MLA from Sunam said. The inquiry is of no relevance as the money trail has been kept out of the purview of the panel’s terms of reference, he said.

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Arora said the AAP and the Lok Insaaf Party will take the “matter of corruption by the minister” to the streets if no action is taken by the state government. He said the AAP will start demonstrations in the coming days at various place in Punjab. Sukhpal Khaira, the party’s chief whip and Sarabjit Kaur Manuke, its Deputy Leader in Punjab Assembly will lead the protest in Jalandhar on Monday while Sadhu Singh will lead protests at Faridkot on June 8, Arora said.

Leader of opposition HS Phoolka along with MLAs Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Bains will lead protest at Ludhiana on June 9 while AAP’s state unit chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann lead a demonstration in Gurdaspur on June 12. The opposition parties have accused the state irrigation and power minister of acquiring sand and gravel mines through benami transactions in the name of his company’s cook and staff, a charge denied by him.

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 the 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.

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