Amit Bahadur, who won a contract for a sand mine in Punjab’s Nawanshahr district in an e-auction conducted by the government last month, was a “liaison officer” at Rana Sugar owned by Punjab Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh until February this year, according to his family.
He is now employed by Captain J S Randhawa, the Bahadurs told The Indian Express. Captain Radhawa is a businessman and an associate of Rana Gurjit.
Amit is the key figure in the case surrounding the allocation of the Saidpur Khurd sand mine in Nawanshahr. It was first believed that he was a cook on the payroll of Rana Sugar Pvt. Ltd. His brother Sandeep repeatedly clarified that Amit was not a cook, he was liaisoning officer with Rana Sugar.
“He used to work as a liaisoning officer at Rana Sugar but he has no association with that company any more. Whatever work he is doing right now is with Captain Randhawa. Amitji will be able to tell you whether it is a business or partnership or whether he is an employee. He resigned from the company (Rana Sugar) on February 14 this year. As a contractor, he had taken up projects in various parts of UP, even Lucknow, and Punjab. I do not know how he got in touch with Rana sahab. I do not know how he applied for a job or got a job there,” said Sandeep. Amit was associated with the Moradabad unit of Rana Sugar.
Amit was untraceable. His phones were switched off.
Days after it emerged that Amit had won a Rs 26-crore auction bid and allegations flew suggesting he was a proxy for the power minister, Randhawa’s son, Sanjit Singh, said the money for the auction had been put up by his firm Rajbir Enterprises, and Amit was a “working partner” in this firm. Asked why he had not claimed the bid earlier in the controversy, Sanjit told The Indian Express: “No one asked.”
The Indian Express met Bahadur’s family near their home in Haldua on the Uttarakhand-Uttar Pradesh border. The house suggested limited means, not abject poverty. Bahadur’s parents and his two brothers live here and run a small grocery shop. The 47-year-old Amit is the eldest sibling. His wife and two children live in Moradabad. The children go to the local Delhi Public School.
“We heard he is a cook, he makes paranthas, he is a Nepali. Until now, no one in our family has had such a job. Most of us are salaried professionals, either with the government or a private firm… A man who is dealing in business worth crores cannot be a cook,” Sandeep said.