Rana Gurjit Singh on Tuesday resigned as Power and Irrigation Minister in Punjab’s Captain Amarinder Singh government. He was facing allegations of corruption from opposition parties for securing mining contracts worth crores of rupees using his staff as proxies.
Sources in the Congress said that Singh’s resignation came after the party president, Rahul Gandhi, conveyed his anguish in ‘no uncertain terms’ to the state government.
The Income Tax Department last year had started an inquiry into the mining contracts allegedly bagged by four former employees of the sacked Punjab minister, even as the state government ordered a judicial probe in the matter.
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.
Rana Gurjit had clarified that neither he nor his company – Rana Sugars Limited – has any direct or indirect stakes, financial or otherwise, in the sand mining business. The minister had categorically denied any links of his family members or employees with the sand mining business.
He termed as “incorrect” the reports in a section of the media claiming that his company employees had successfully bid for sand mines.
He had said the employees in question had left their jobs a long time ago, which could be verified from the company’s records.
“Though I am personally not involved in the day-to-day functioning of my companies for the last about two decades, however, I can say with command and confidence that neither any of the employees working in these companies nor any of my family members has any interest or stake in sand mining business in Punjab,” he asserted.
Punjab Chief Minister Singh also ordered setting up of a judicial commission to probe the allegations of impropriety against the state irrigation and power minister in the multi-crore sand mining auctions held recently by the state government, an official spokesman said.