MORE THAN two months after the Punjab government set up the Justice J S Narang (retd) commission to probe allegations of irregularities in auction of sand mines involving Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, the one-man commission submitted its report to the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday. After going through the recommendations of the commission, the Chief Minister has forwarded the report to Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh. Justice Narang, who prepared the 92-page report in 72 days, met Amarinder at the latter’s official residence and handed over the report.
The Chief Minister had constituted the commission on May 29 after allotment of sand mines in Nawanshahar were alleged to be linked to two former employees of the minister. The inquiry commission was mandated to find out whether the sand mining auction linked with minister’s ex-employees had caused any loss to the state exchequer, whether there was any pressure from the minister on the department to allot the mines to his ex-employees and whether any rules were bent by the government. The commission had questioned officials of the sand mining department and Rana’s employees.
Justice Narang told The Indian Express that he would not say anything about the report as it was confidential. “I will speak only after the Chief Secretary gives his remarks on the action recommended by me.” However, sources in the government said the commission, after questioning officials of the sand mining department and Rana’s ex-employees, is learnt to have reached a conclusion that no pressure was exerted, no rules were bent and the state exchequer did not face any loss.
The commission, set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, was also asked to inquire whether the minister received any undue financial benefit or gain from the award of such two mines to the bidders and if there has been any loss to the state’s revenue by the award of such two mines to the bidders at the price in question.