Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday termed the judicial inquiry ordered into acquisition of sand mines through multi-crore transactions by servants and employees of Irrigation and Power minister Rana Gurjit Singh as too little too late and demanded the immediate sack of the minister to ensure a free and fair probe into the entire matter.
In a statement here, former minister and SAD spokesman Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema said the allegations against Rana Gurjit were as good as proved. “Rana has admitted that his Nepalese cook who earns a few thousand made a successful bid for a Rs 26 crore sand and gravel mining site. Other employees of Rana have also bagged mining sites taking the total amount of investment by the employees to Rs 50 crore. The minister has agreed to all this but has come out with a lame excuse that the employees left his service recently. This is unbelievable”, Dr Cheema added.
The SAD leader said the judicial inquiry would not serve the required purpose. “This is a clear case of corruption, benaami deals and possibly even hawala transactions. It would have been in the fitness of things if chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had handed over the case to the Enforcement Directorate besides involving the Income Tax authorities. These agencies would have been able to investigate and bust the money trail which allowed paupers with few pennies in their name to acquire sand mines. Obviously all this was done at the behest of Rana Gurjit. If the minister is not sacked it is likely he will be able to influence key witnesses and a fair investigation of the case would not be possible”.
Stating that public confidence in the new Congress government had been severely shaken by the naked manner in which Rana Gurjit had misused his power to acquire sand mines in the name of his employees, Dr Cheema said the government should have acted decisively to send out a clear message against corruption and nepotism. Stating that this was an open and shut case, the Akali leader said Rana Gurjit and the new government could not defend the indefensible.
“Instead of sacking the minister immediately the government has gone in for a commission. This has sent out a message that the government wants to let Rana Gurjit off the hook. This will not be tolerated at any cost”, Dr Cheema said adding the SAD would take all measures to ensure just legal punishment to Rana Gurjit for abusing the trust of the people and subverting the entire sand mining process in the State.
The SAD also pointed out that no action had been taken against the officials who had facilitated Rana Gurjit’s benaami transactions. “Such officials should be identified and strict action should be taken against them also”, he added.
— PTC News