CAUGHT UP in a row over alleged conflict of interest linked to sand mine auctions in Punjab, Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh Monday abstained from participating in a discussion on one-time settlement for industries against loans taken from Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Ltd (PAIC).
A government statement said Rana Gurjit, who was present in the Cabinet Monday, “abstained from discussion on the one-time settlement of loans as his company would be a beneficiary of the OTS scheme.” Rana Gurjit, however, claimed that he would not benefit from the scheme. “I abstained from the discussion as I have many industrialist friends. Had I pushed for the agenda, people would have said I was trying to benefit my maternal uncle’s son or my brother-in-law’s nephew.”
He said some people had gone to the High Court against him, alleging that he owed money to PSIDC. “The case was in the High Court for 11 years. The shares of PSIDC worth Rs 32 crore were transferred in my name after a long legal battle. The PSIDC had taken money from me and yet not transferred the shares. I have no liabilities as far as PSIDC and PAIC are concerned.”
The Cabinet gave its nod for OTS. Under the scheme, sick units would be allowed to pay back the principle without interest and those companies in profit would be allowed to pay a simple interest at the rate of 10 per cent. This would help the state make nearly Rs 100 crore, said Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.