Punjab Leader of Opposition and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira Tuesday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh urging him to do “some soul searching” and order a CBI inquiry against state Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh. Khaira also asked the CM to sack Rana Gurjit fromthe state Cabinet in connection with the controversial sand mine auction, inwhich two of the sucessful bids went in favour of two former employees of the minister.
After reporting last week that RGS Traders Pvt Ltd, which had invested in mine auction, was set up by Rana Gurjit, The Indian Express on Tuesday carried a report which highlighted that another company, RJ Texfab Pvt Ltd, which had transferred cash to a firm that made the transfer for the security deposit on behalf of the two bidders, was also set up by the minister himself.
The second company, RJ Texfab Pvt Ltd, was set up in 1998, and was originally named Rana Fabrics Ltd with Rana Gurjit Singh, his wife Rajbans Kaur, son Rana Inderpratap Singh, brother Rana Ranjit Singh and close associate JS Randhawa. Documents filed by RJ Texfab with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs show that it was in October 21, 2002, that the name of Rana Fabrics Ltd was changed to RJ Texfab Ltd, The Indian Express had reported.
In the letter to the CM with subject line— “More incriminating evidence against tainted minister Rana Gurjit Singh directly pumping Rs 4.52 crore into the infamous mining auction, through his RJ Texfab Pvt. Ltd. Co — AAP reiterates its demand for a CBI investigation in the case and his immediate dismissal from the Cabinet. Khaira’s letter read, “Sir, I was appalled to hear your lame defence of the tainted minister that there’s nothing wrong in taking a loan from someone? But, in this case, it is not just a loan. It’s a fit case of the minister’s company directly pumping a whopping Rs 4.52 crore to bag the auction.”
“Had Justice Narang probed the antecedents of the 23 individuals and companies who contributed money for the auction, as mentioned by him in his inquiry report, the truth would have emerged of Rana Gurjit’s direct involvement in the auction…Therefore, I urge you to do some soul searching and order a CBI inquiry against the blatantly corrupt minister. I also urge you to dismiss him from your Cabinet without any further delay,if you want to uphold your promise of “zero tolerance” to corruption,” Khaira wrote.
Meanwhile, as AAP seeks Rana Gurjit’s exit from Punjab Cabinet, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has been maintaining a stoic silence on the issue. SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “Let the government take a decision on the file and then SAD will react. Justice Narang commission report is not public yet. Let the government take a decision when it is put before the CM.” Told that Khaira had already made the report public in a press conference, Cheema said, “We do not have the report. The government has not made it public. We do not want to react on hearsay.”
Reacting on SAD’s silence on the issue, Khaira said, “We have been saying from the very beginning that there is a friendly match between Congress and SAD. There is quid pro quo between them. That is why Captain Amarinder Singh is not taking any action against Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia. And the outgoing Badal government had finalised closure reports in two major cases againstCapt Amarinder Singh.”
Meanwhile, Khaira also questioned the New Industrial and Business Development Policy, 2017, of the Congress government and alleged that one time settlement for loans taken from Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation under the policy was aimed at “benefitting biggest defaulters like Rana Gurjit Singh who owed Rs 137 crore”. Khaira said while farmers and farm labourers were awaiting relief to get their loans waived off, “under the garb of OTS”, the government was trying to benefit a number of Congress leaders and big industrialists and businessmen who were the “biggest defaulters”.
A state government offcial, however, said that Rana Gurjit had no liability of any finacial corporation of Punjab and he was not going to benefit from One Time Settlement scheme. He said Rana Gurjit had availed of an OTS scheme during the previous Congress government in state. The OTS scheme was cancelled by the Akalis when they had come to power in 2007. The matter had reached the high court and the court had given relief to Rana Gurjit.