Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he was not shielding Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh on charges of corruption in the sand mining auction. In a fresh reaction on his minister, Amarinder said, “There was no question of shielding the minister as the Justice Narang Commission had cleared him of charges of corruption.”
Amarinder was presiding over a function organised by Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s department in which the CM released a sum of Rs 211 crore and presented cheques worth Rs 58 crore to 37 Urban Local Bodies for development projects. Sources in government told The Indian Express that the government may cancel allotment of two sand mines in Nawanshahar linked to Rana Gurjit but was unlikely to take any action against the minister.
There has been no formal response from the government to the series of exposes against the minister by The Indian Express, on the links between the minister and the companies that invested money in the bid for the two mines during the May sand mine auction in the state. Amarinder had earlier said at a press conference that no link had been established.
Sources in the government said the three-member panel of bureaucrats constituted by the Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh to take a decision on the Narang commission report was set to endorse the commission’s recommendation for cancellation of the Saidpur and Mehadipur sand mines allotted to two ex-employees of the minister, Amit Bahadur and Kulvinder Paul Singh.
Insiders say the “thumb rule” on cancellations is to refund the security deposit, which is a minimum of 50 per cent of the bid, to the bidders. The two mines, one in Saidpur, and another in Mehdipur, both in Nawanshahr district, were allotted on bids of Rs 26.51 crore and 9.2 crore, big money even in the mining business.