Punjab power and irrigation minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who had last year faced corruption allegations in auction of sand mines before being cleared, has handed in his resignation, although the immediate trigger appeared to be an Enforcement Directorate summons to his son.
Rana’s son Inder Partap Singh is alleged to have raised funds from abroad without the mandatory approval from the Reserve Bank of India. The allegation led to a summons from the ED about 10 days back.
The minister has submitted his resignation to chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is yet to accept it.
“When my name appeared in the sand mining controversy, then too I had offered my resignation on moral grounds. For the same reason, I have submitted my resignation to the chief minister,” Rana, an industrialist-turned-politician, said. He said he had sent his resignation a few days ago.
Sources in the Congress, which returned to power in Punjab less than a year ago, said the chief minister would take a call on the resignation after a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, likely to take place in Delhi on Thursday.
“It is very unlikely that the Congress national president would take a lenient view on this matter since Rana’s name has been involved in a controversy from the beginning. To send home the message that the Congress will not tolerate corruption when in power, Rana might have to leave,” a Punjab Congress leader said.
A controversy had broken out in May last year following allegations that at least four of Rana’s employees had bagged contracts worth crores of rupees. Of the four, one was a deputy general manager in a sugar mill run by Rana. The others were a cook and two sugarcane handlers.
A one-member judicial commission set up by the Amarinder government had given Rana a clean chit but the Opposition had claimed the panel had overlooked key evidence.
There is no use finding fault with the EVMs now when the party leadership committed a historic blunder with regard to the overall strategy in the elections. First, it should look within to find out reasons that stopped AAP’s march to power,” Chandigarh-based The Tribune quoted Mann as saying.