Eight months after being embroiled in a sand-mining scam and ten days after his son got entangled in an Enforcement Directorate case, The much-controversial stint of Rana Gurjit Singh as Punjab’s power and irrigation minister has ended in just 10 months of the Congress Government.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday confirmed that state Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s resignation has been accepted.
This is the first major setback to the Amarinder government in Punjab and also a jolt to the Congress party that is looking for a revival on the national scene in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the path to which will have to go through Punjab as it is the only state where the party won ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power at the centre under Narendra Modi.
This comes after a series of investigative reports on Rana Gurjit, who had come under fire from the Opposition for his alleged involvement in sand mining auctions.
AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira who is a known Amarinder and Rana baiter had been gunning persistently for the latter’s ouster over the last several months. Rana’s resignation comes as a shot in the arm for Khaira and AAP whose consistent campaign on the issue put Amarinder on the backfoot.
Rana Gurjit Singh, an MLA from Kapurthala, had tendered resignation earlier this week, after being accused of illegally bagging sand mining contracts.
Rana Gurjit had kicked up a controversy in May last year after his Nepalese cook Amit Bahadur won a sand mine bid worth Rs 26.51 crore at Saidpur Khurd village in Nawanshahar. Some mine contracts were also bagged by one of his close associates Captain JS Randhawa.
The company floated by the minister in his cook’s name is also under the scanner for borrowing Rs five crore from a contractor who is accused of a multi-crore scam in Gurjit’s own department.
Meanwhile, Rana Gurjit’s family-owned company Rana Sugars Limited is also accused of raising and parking nearly Rs 100 crore in a foreign account.
These issues were prominently raised by the Opposition parties targeting Rana Gurjit Singh and the Congress.
The Opposition parties like Akali Dal had particularly questioned the controversial sand mine bids as the Congress had made illegal sand mining in Punjab an election issue. (ANI)