The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday adjourned hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking shifting of Punjab power minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s portfolio citing ‘conflict of interest’.
The PIL has been filed by advocate HC Arora who has argued that Singh and his wife, Rana Rajbans Kaur, were majority shareholders in M/S Rana Sugars Limited, and the said company had an agreement inked on December 4, 2012 with Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to supply power generated by it up to 20 MW.
There were certain provisions in this agreement which gave discretion to PSPCL to make advance payments to this company, by making some discount.
The agreement is to continue till December 4, 2027, the court was told adding that since Singh was holding power ministry, he had full control over PSPCL.
“A few days ago, he made a public statement that he is going to review power agreements with private power generating companies. Thus, a situation of ‘conflict of interest’ has arisen where the portfolio of power should be taken back or he should be asked to sever his all connections with the firm, by disposing (of) all shares held by him and his spouse,” the petitioner lawyer had submitted.
Advocate general Atul Nanda told the court that there was no situation of ‘conflict of interest’, as any decision on power sharing was to be taken by the electricity regulatory authority.
However, Arora had argued that once the minister said that he was going to order review of power agreements, that means his own company would also be affected by such a review.
The HC has not issued any formal notice to the government and the hearing was adjourned to July 23 as the advocate general told the court that he would address the issues raised on the next date.