Punjab tweaked auction rules before minister’s ex-cook got sand mine

Rana Gurjit has sought to distance himself from Bahadur saying that he left his employment in February this year.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Updated: May 29, 2017 8:14 am
punjab auction, punjab minister, punjab auction rules, punjab sand mine, sand mine auctions, sand mine punjab auctions, india news Rana Gurjit Singh. (File photo)

Four days before the e-auction of sand mines in Punjab, in which a former employee of Minister for Power and Irrigation Rana Gurjit Singh bagged a Rs 26 crore contract, the government changed the rules of the auction to keep the names of the bidders secret. The sand mine contract to Amit Bahadur, who was a cook with Rana Gurjit’s firm Rana Sugars, has triggered demands by opposition parties for the minister’s resignation. Rana Gurjit has sought to distance himself from Bahadur saying that he left his employment in February this year.

The e-auction for the sand mines, which saw aggressive bidding, took place on May 19 and 20. While introducing the e-auctioning system, the Congress government had said it would ensure total transparency in issue of contracts and end the reign of sand mafia as well as other illegalities. On May 3, in the first announcement of the auction — notice number GLG/Pb/G-1/Auction 1085/Auction 2017/734-B — Para 8 stated that the list of prospective bidders would be posted on the website of the Department of Industries, http://www.investpunjab.gov.in, after scrutiny of their documents and payment of earnest money.

But on May 15, the department issued a corrigendum stating that para 8 of the earlier notice stood deleted and the list of prospective bidders would be kept “secret”. No reasons were given. The corrigendum was signed by Director, Mining, Amit Dhaka. Speaking to The Indian Express, Dhaka said the names were kept secret to avoid cartelisation during the auction process. “Para 8 was deleted to prevent cartelisation as it was a progressive bidding system,” he said.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who is the Minister for Industries and Commerce, under which the Department of Mining falls, has not made any public comment on the controversy so far. However, Congress sources told The Indian Express the party high command has conveyed to the CM that he must ensure that the state government “maintains a clean image”. Within the Punjab Congress too, there is unease over the government’s silence on the allegations against a senior Cabinet minister.

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  1. A
    ASHOK KHANNA
    May 30, 2017 at 5:49 pm
    Like the news in this news paper.
    Reply
    1. V
      Vasudevan Venugopal
      May 29, 2017 at 11:11 pm
      Hey Baghwan!! Purani aadat. Phir bhi chaalu. Pathetic! Have you decided that your chapter is over? You don't even want return as the Opposition? Compared to you BJP appears to be a Devta notwithstanding "Vyapam", etc.
      Reply
      1. H
        Hanish Malhotra
        May 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm
        S.mohinder Paul singh formerly / presently OSD has got registered AnFIR. 269/2008at ps. SadarFzr along with false do ents got prepared from the o/o Accountant General punjab chandigarh. All the administration including Dc/ssp/District Attorneys Ferozepur are trying to prove false do ents as original and no one dare to report regarding these do ents to higher authorities with the pressure of politicians
        Reply
        1. R
          rk
          May 29, 2017 at 12:55 pm
          Corruption to kongress is what water to fish.fish can't survive without water
          Reply
          1. V
            Vasudevan Venugopal
            May 29, 2017 at 11:14 pm
            @Rk: Rk, You are logical and poetic. Very well said indeed.
            Reply
          2. I
            Indian
            May 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm
            LOOT SCAMS and CONgress can never be separated. ................ CM from the even the Patyala Royal Family too is part of the LOOT.
            Reply
            1. R
              Raju Manwani
              May 29, 2017 at 11:42 am
              Interesting... "..Congress sources told The Indian Express the party high command has conve to the CM that he must ensure that the state government “maintains a clean image”. Does ayone else see the irony in that?
              Reply
              1. D
                Damodar Biswal
                May 29, 2017 at 11:42 am
                Congress without corruption n scams is unthinkable.
                Reply
                1. K
                  K.Suresh
                  May 29, 2017 at 10:43 am
                  Great going by congress. Coming into bat at the slog overs, it has barely 2 years to score.
                  Reply
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