Citing it a “clear case of conflict of interest”, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday demanded that Punjab power minister Rana Gurjit Singh be divested of the ministry as his firm — Rana Sugars Limited — is selling power to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
In a statement, Punjab leader of opposition HS Phoolka alleged that being a minister, Rana is controlling the PSPCL that is purchasing electricity from his firm.
“Rana Sugars Limited generates 34MW of electricity out of which 20MW is being sold to the PSPCL. Rana and his wife are the biggest shareholders in the firm,” Phoolka said.
Demanding that Rana be removed from the department immediately, Phoolka said if Punjab government’s plan to sell electricity to Pakistan works out, it will directly benefit the private power firms like that of Gurjit’s.
The minister, however, rubbished the charges. “If an agriculturist can become an agriculture minister, a doctor health minister or a lawyer a law minister, what’s wrong if someone who has expertise in producing power becomes the power minister,” Rana said.
He said the agreement between his company and the PSPCL was done long time ago during the Akali-BJP regime and he is a promoter not the director of the company.
“If a company in which I have stakes is supplying power to the PSPCL in a transparent manner following all norms and procedures and without my role or influence, should that be held against me? Within a year he (Phoolka) and whole of Punjab will feel the difference in the power sector. I have knowledge and experience in the power sector and I will ensure to use this knowledge, experience and expertise for the benefit of the state and not for my personal interests,” he added.
RANA’S POWER STAKES
Rana Gurjit’s brother Rana Ranjit Singh is the chairman of Rana Sugars Limited, while his sons Rana Inder Pratap Singh, Rana Veer Pratap Singh and Rana Karan Pratap Singh are its managing director and directors, respectively.
The minister himself holds over 22 lakh shares of the group.
Rana Sugar Mills uses molasses to generate biomass power. In February this year, Rana Sugar Mills sold over 1.22 crore units at ₹5.68 per unit. On March 1, 2017, the department made payment of ₹6.99 crore to the company.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
As per Section 9A of Representation of People Act, 1951, “a person shall be disqualified if, and for so long as, there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the appropriate government for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works undertaken by that government and no minister can do business with the government”.