The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday said that apart from Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, Congress MLA from Khadoor Sahib, Ramanjit Singh Sikki, and a Congress leader from Shahkot, Hardev Singh Laddi, too were involved in the sand mine auction though proxy bidders.
Addressing a press conference here, AAP’s Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira alleged that apart from Sikki and Laddi, there were other Congress leaders too who had put up their benami finances for the mine auctions.
“With Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh appearing to be helpless to take any action against Rana Gurjit, how does the Congress government expect the mining department and the Punjab Police to take action against the mining mafia,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Hardev Singh Laddi dismissed the allegations of Khaira as frivolous.
“Let him come forward and show some proof of what he is alleging. I do not even know anything about sand mining and have never thought about getting into it. Khaira is making these claims because I am close to Rana Gurjit, who brought me into politics,” said Laddi. Attempts were made to speak to Ramanjit Sikki for his response to Khaira’s allegations but his mobile phone was switched off.
Launching an attack on Rana Gurjit, the AAP MLA alleged that the minister had emerged as a “defaulter of payments” of farmers in Uttar Pradesh and that as per that state’s Cane Commissioner, Vipin Kumar Dwivedi, Rs 202 crore were due to farmers from four sugar mills in the state.
“There are orders in place to seize his passport and this should be done straightaway so that he does not flee the country like Mallya,” said Khaira. Asking for fresh auction of sand minies in the state, he added: “Rana Gurjit was emerging as Punjab’s Vijay Mallya.”
Calling the allegations baseless, Rana Gurjit said: “There was a slump in the sugar industry last year and not only my mills were affected but there was an overall negative affect on the payments to be made. But all this has been sorted out now and you can speak to the affected farmers to check. What has Khaira got to do with all this? Does he know anything about the sugar industry.”
However, Khaira alleged that the inquiry commission was set up to give a clean chit to Rana Gurjit. He said that issues relating to money laundering and the ways and means through which Rana Gurjit’s employees received cash to bid for the mines had not been included in the terms and reference of Justice Narang Commission and this defeats the basic purpose of the inquiry. He demanded that the Narang Commission be disbanded.
‘One bidder for 17 mines’
AAP MLA Sukhpal Khaira also demanded a probe into the manner in which there was only one bidder for 17 sand mine sites. He said that there was a need to inquire into the circumstances in which only one bidder emerged for such a large number of mines.