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Clean chit to Rana Gurjit: Punjab govt tables Narang panel report on sand mine auctions

Action-taken report says process of cancelling provisional bids under scanner underway.

punjab Updated: Mar 29, 2018 11:06 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Rana Gurjit,Narang panel report,sand mine auctions
The CM had ordered to form the one-man commission in May last year following allegations of impropriety against his then power and irrigation minister Rana Gurjit in sand mine auctions had emerged. He was given a clean chit by the commission.

The Punjab government on Wednesday tabled the Justice JS Narang Commission report in the Vidhan Sabha on sand mine auctions in the state, more than seven months after it was submitted to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The CM had ordered to form the one-man commission in May last year following allegations of impropriety against his then power and irrigation minister Rana Gurjit in sand mine auctions had emerged. He was given a clean chit by the commission.

A three-member committee headed by the chief secretary was formed the day the report was submitted on August 10. The committee had said the mining department was in the process of cancelling the provisional acceptance of bids of two controversial mines at Saidpur Khurd and Mehadipur in Nawanshahr district. The CM had assured that action will be taken within 15 days.

After allegations of large-scale corruption were levelled against him, Rana Gurjit resigned on January 16 this year.

The issue snowballed into a major controversy after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who is now leader of opposition in the assembly, had pointed at shortcomings in the sand mining auctioning process.

While deposing before the Narang Commission, Amit Bahadur, a successful sand mine bidder and a former employee of one of the companies owned by Rana Gurjit, had said online bidding was done by his partners Sahil Singla and Sanjit Randhawa. The highest bid of Rs 26.52 crore was given for two mines in his absence and the amount did not come from his account, he had said.

Of the five terms of references given to the commission, action was recommended on one account.

The panel recommended that the highest bidder never participated in the e-auction and, therefore, a contract can’t be given to Amit Bahadur and Kulvinder Paul in whose name provisional bids were finalised.

Giving clean chit to Rana Gurjit, the panel had said that no action to be taken against him. It was also clarified in the report that Bahadur and Kulvinder Paul were not bidding on behalf of the minister who received no financial benefit.

First Published: Mar 29, 2018 11:06 IST