‘I am Bahadur, but not a cook’, says ex-employee of Punjab minister Rana Gurjit
Bahadur repeatedly asserted that he never worked as a cook and denied that he is being used for Rana’s benami operationspunjab Updated: Jun 05, 2017 08:55 IST
Amit Bahadur, 37, who is now famous as power minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s “cook”, has been in hiding after a controversy erupted over him getting the contract of a Rs 26-crore sand mine in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district. Hindustan Times tracked him down at the Chandigarh office of one of the companies in which he is a director. In an interview, he strongly contradicted his description as a cook in media reports. Wearing formal trousers and a flashy shirt with three high-end mobile phones in hand, Bahadur repeatedly asserted that he never worked as a cook and denied that he is being used for Rana’s benami operations.
Q: Being a cook, how did you manage to get Punjab’s richest mine?
A: Let me tell you, I am not a cook and I don’t know cooking. If I have ‘Bahadur’ surname, it doesn’t mean I am a cook. Nobody in the last four generations in my family has ever worked as a cook. My forefathers were Nepalis but our family had settled in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. I am Delhi-born and my daughter is studying in Delhi Public School, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Anybody can go and check. Calling me a cook is wrong and defamatory. Every Punjabi with a ‘Singh’ surname is not a truck driver. I challenge anybody to prove that I was a cook ever.
Q: But have you not worked in Rana’s firms?
A: I have and I am not denying it. Before leaving ‘Rana Sugars’ to join the mining business, I was working as liaisoning officer in the firm’s Moradabad unit. There are many IAS officers in UP who still know me as Rana Sugar’s liaisoning officer. I am giving you the mobile numbers of those officers. You can check with them. I was originally working in Captain JS Randhawa’s firm and left it in 2011 to join Rana’s firm. But when Randhawa Sir told me to join him in mining business, I left Rana’s firm.
Q: It seems a miracle for a liaisoning officer of a sugar company to become director of the company that has bagged the biggest mining contract of the state? You seem to be lying to save Rana?
A: Before joining Randhawa’s firm, I had been working in Balwinder Paper Mill situated on Gill Road in Ludhiana since 2001. The mill is not there now, but the company records can prove that. Before moving to Ludhiana, I worked with a construction firm of Sultanpur (UP) as well. Thereafter, I joined Randhawa’s firm as my father-in-law was already employed with this firm for over 35 years. I am a matriculate and have earned my position by loyalty and hard work.
Q: But your salary is just Rs 11,000 and your income tax returns show an annual income of Rs 9 lakh only. And you are a director in more than three firms having links with Rana. Unbelievable!
A: Since I have looked after many construction projects for Ranas and Randhawas, they found me fit for the job. There are additional perks with my salary as well. My social status in Moradabad will show you my position. As far as mining is concerned, I am not raising any fund for the firm. We formed this company on February 12 this year and I am one of the directors, who would get 5% of the profit from mining. As per the agreement, I would oversee the operations of the mine, including loading of truck,s and would get Rs 60,000 as monthly salary from the firm. I was first made director of another firm in 2015 as well.
Q: Isn’t it a fact that Rana and Randhawa are partners and your company is doing benami operations for Rana?
A: I know that Rana and Randhawa Sirs are good friends. As an employee, I don’t know more than that. But how can anybody believe that Rana would give our company Rs 26 crore secretly and we would submit it with mining department without mentioning the source. After demonetisation, you have to reveal your financial source for every transaction of Rs one lakh.