Punjab CM orders judicial inquiry into charges against Rana Gurjit

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered the setting up a one man judicial commission to probe the allegations of impropriety against Irrigation & 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 one month. The terms of reference for the inquiry commission, formed under the Commission of Inquiry Act, would be notified soon.

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 till the outcome of the judicial probe.

Asserting his stand of zero tolerance to corruption, the Chief Minister announced his decision to set up a Judicial Commission after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports charging the minister with acquiring certain mines in the names of his company’s staff.

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 decided, in the interest of ethics and propriety, to get the matter probed at the highest level to ensure total transparency.

There was no question of allowing any deviation from his government’s avowed policy of providing clean governance, said Captain Amarinder, adding that he would take all steps to ensure that there is no violation of the trust reposed by the people of Punjab in his government and the Congress party.

The two-day sand auctions, in which these bids are alleged to have been secured, related to 50 mines and they have already generated a revenue of nearly Rs. 300 crores, leading to the highest ever earnings from the mining sector for the state government.

According to a government spokesman another 56 mines would be put to auction on June 11 and the government is expecting to generate another Rs 300 crores from them. It’s worth mentioning that the state government’s revenue from the mine auction last year was merely Rs 40 crores.

— PTC News