The Justice J S Narang (retired) Commission, set up by the Punjab government to probe allegations of irregularities in the auction of sand mines, has recommended the re-auction of the controversial mines that were linked to Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh. While Justice Narang has given a clean chit to the minister in his report as “no monetary connection of the minister could be linked to the controversial sand mines”, he has recommended that the auction of the mines should be cancelled nevertheless, a source said.
The minister was given a clean chit after a probe into the money trail, sources said. But it is learnt that the report has said the government should re-auction the mines as these had come under a cloud over allegations of impropriety by the minister. Sources said the report also comes down heavily on officials of the sand mining department, who according to the commission did not run checks on the money transferred through RTGS by successful bidders. The department had no details about the money.
The controversial mines included two in Saidpur and Mehadipur in Nawanshahr. Amit Bahadur, who bagged Saidpur mines for Rs 26.51 crore and Kulwinder Pal Singh, who bagged Mehadipur mines for Rs 9.31 crore, were alleged to be fronting for the minister. It was alleged that Bahadur was Singh’s cook and Kulwinder Pal an ex-employee. The minister had later denied that both were his employees.
Justice Narang had submitted the report to CM Amarinder Singh on August 10, who had marked it to Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh to look into the recommendations and submit a fresh report on whether the government should cancel the auction. Justice Narang had said that he had recommended “very strong action”. The Chief Secretary has marked the report to a panel comprising Finance Secretary Anirudh Tewari, Secretary (Industries) R K Verma and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) NS Kalsi to decide whether to accept the recommendations.