Sensing a move to refund the approximately Rs 18 crore deposited with the state government for the auction of the two sand mines allotted to former employees of Irrigation and Power Minister, Rana Gurjit Singh, Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Khaira has demanded that the amount should be forfeited for violation of rules. In a letter written to the Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, and the three-member panel appointed to consider the report submitted by Justice J S Narang that probed allegations of irregularities in the sand mine auctions, Khaira demanded that the money deposited on behalf of Amit Bahadur and Kulwinder Pal Singh be forfeited as per rule 37 Clause (8) of Punjab Minor Mineral Rules, 2013 for violating the conditions of auction notice.
The clause quoted by Khaira states that, “Misbehaviour or violation of rules or procedures of auction by any bidder during auction shall make him liable for forfeiting his earnest money, removal from the place of auction, cancellation of certificate of approval and debarring him for a period up to three years from any future auction under these rules.”
The Leader of Opposition added that in view of the blatant violations of rules and regulations committed by bidders, their associates and the officers of the mining department the “wrongful allotment” of the two mines of Saidpur Khurd and Mehdipur to Amit Bahadur and Kulvinderpal Singh be cancelled without any further delay.
He has also demanded that criminal proceedings must be launched against Rana Gurjit Singh, Sanjit Randhawa, Sahil Singla and officers of the mining department who allotted these mines in grave violation of rules and regulations.
“Since the Justice Narang Commission has failed to bare the complete truth in the mining scandal and has done great disservice to the state of Punjab by giving a clean chit to a corrupt minister, I demand that the further investigation of the infamous mining scandal be handed over to the CBI for a free, fair and impartial inquiry, to check corruption at high places,” said Khaira.
Stating that if the government fails to take appropriate action to fix responsibility, Khaira said that he will be left with no option but to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court for justice.
He claimed in his letter that despite the fact that Justice Narang tried his best to shield the minister in his “frivolous and unwilling inquiry”, but yet he had revealed startling facts virtually indicting the frontmen of the minister and officers of the mining department.
“The sequence of events brought out by the Narang commission in itself reveal more than they can hide. I am of the firm opinion, that it is because of the political pressure exerted by the minister that the Certificate of Approval was granted to Amit Bahadur and Kulvinderpal Singh, despite the fact that money was deposited by Sanjit Randhawa and Sahil Singla by violating conditions number 5, 22 and 25. It is abundantly clear that all rules, regulations and norms were blatantly flouted to allot these mines to the above said persons fully knowing that the bidders did not fulfil the requisite conditions,” the letter stated.