Punjab Power and Irrigation Minister, Rana Gurjit Singh is under the scanner after the companies that loaned him about Rs 98 crore showed little turnover, no business activity other than taking and giving unsecured loans and were not even housed at their official addresses, according to an Indian Express report. The report further added that these companies that gave the loans shared the address of a firm which was owned by the minister’s family. In his 2017 Assembly election affidavit, Rana Gurjit had mentioned that he took loans of over Rs 98 crore from various companies but fell under suspicion after his former aide, Amit Bahadur, had won a sand mine e-auction that cost him Rs 26 crore, although his tax returns did not reflect financial wherewithal to make such a bid.
In his poll affidavit, Rana Gurjit had mentioned 12 companies from which he had taken loans but didn’t mention the years. According to the details given to the Indian Express by Registrar of Companies (RoC) for the financial years 2014-15 and 2015-16, five of the 12 companies had near-zero turnover. The Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh is already going through a tough time trying to deal with alleged illegal investments in the state. On Thursday, he had expressed his inability to take action against PACL, which had allegedly collected more than Rs 60,000 crore through illegal collective investments, saying the company was not registered with the Punjab government.
However, the government is trying to introduce a fresh bill to deal with such fraudulent cases. “No Sir. PACL is not registered with the state government. The state government takes action against those chit fund companies which are registered with the state government,” Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said in a written reply, tabled in the ongoing budget session on Thursday. “The Bill was sent to the government of India for President’s assent. The government of India has made few comments and observations on the Bill which are included,” he added.