Ahead of May auction,

Rana called up Mining Director

Chandigarh, October 7- Ahead of the sand mining auctions in May, Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh had called up Director (Mining) Amit Dhaka and enquired about the procedure.
Dhaka has said this in his statement before the Justice JS Narang (retd) Commission.
The commission was formed following The Tribune report on May 25, highlighting how four employees of Rana Gurjit had bagged mining contracts. Taking cognisance of the report, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had constituted a judicial commission of inquiry under Justice JS Narang (retd).
Narang had submitted his report on August 10. Subsequently, the Chief Minister had asked the Chief Secretary to examine the report.
The commission, in its report, has given the clean chit to the minister.
The Chief Minister holds the portfolio of Industry, under which the mining wing falls.
As per the statement given before Justice Narang, Dhaka said he had received a number of calls from several persons in connection with the procedure of the auction. “Those who called included politicians. I told every person that the procedure and process had been posted online.”
In reply to a question whether or not Rana Gurjit had tried to influence him for favouring anyone in connection with Saidpur Khurd and Mehadipur mines or any other mine, Dhaka accepted the minister had called him up just before the auction of May 19 and 20.
“He called on my telephone and asked for the procedure and process finalised for holding  the sand mine auctions,” he said.
Dhaka claimed he explained to the minister the procedure had been improvised by the software developed by Punjab Infotech and Indian Telephone Industries Limited. “I told him that for any clarification, he should call on helpline numbers.”
Rana Gurjit admitted that he had called up Dhaka before the auction. In his statement before the commission on July 26, the minister said, “I called up the Director (Mining) to understand the procedure being adopted for e-auctions as some of my persons had enquired from me.”
Rana Gurjit’s four employees had bagged mining contracts that courted controversy. His cook Amit Bahadur got the contract of a mining site in Nawanshahr’s Saidpur Khurd village for Rs 26.51 crore. Kulwinder Pal Singh, deputy general manager, got the contract of Mehadipur quarry for Rs 9.21 crore, Gurinder Singh bagged a quarry in Mohali’s Rampur Kalan village for Rs 4.11 crore and Balraj Singh bagged a contract at Bairsal village for Rs 10.58 crore.
Later, Balraj and Gurinder had backed out when it came to depositing 55 per cent of the bidding amount. So, they were not allotted the sites.
The minister had claimed they were his former employees and had resigned just before the mining auctions.



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