CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered the setting up a one-man judicial commission to probe allegations of impropriety against irrigation and power minister Rana Gurjit Singh in the multi-crore sand mining auctions conducted recently by the State government.
The inquiry would be conducted by Justice (Retd) J S Narang and he would submit his report within a month. The terms of reference for the inquiry commission, formed under the Commission of Inquiry Act, would be notified soon.
Raj Bahadur, who until recently used to serve paranthas in the office of Rana Sugars owned by the power minister, had bagged one of the costliest sand quarries in the State at `26.51 crore at Saidpur Khurd village in Nawanshahar district in the e-auction.
Another employee of Rana Sugars, Kulwinder Paul Singh, got the Mehadipur sand mine for `9.21 crore. He is the liaison man for the company in the designation of deputy general manager. Another employee Gurinder Singh has bagged a sand quarry at Rampur Kalan village in Mohali district for `4.11 crore.
The minister has meanwhile offered to resign in order to ensure a free and fair investigation into the matter. The chief minister has however, asked Rana Gurjit to continue until the outcome of the judicial probe.
Though Rana Gurjit has denied any links of his company, Rana Sugars Limited, with the auctions, and has categorically stated that his company has no stake, direct or indirect, in the sand mining business, the chief minister, in the interest of ethics and propriety, has decided to get the matter probed at the highest level to ensure complete transparency.
There was no question of allowing any deviation from his government’s avowed policy of providing clean governance, said Amarinder, adding that he would take all steps to ensure that there is no violation of trust reposed by the people of Punjab in his government and the Congress party.
The two-day sand auctions, in which these bids were alleged to have been secured, related to 50 mines and they have already generated a revenue of nearly `300 crore, leading to the highest-ever earnings from the mining sector for the State government.
Another 56 mines would be put to auction on June 11 and the government is expecting to generate another `300 crore from them. The State government’s revenue from the mine auction last year was just `40 crore.