India

Punjab mines auction: Minister's "cook" bags Rs. 26 crore deal

27 May 2017 | By Vaneet Randhawa

Leaving the Amarinder government shamefaced, a report revealed that a former cook of Punjab's MLA Rana Gurjit won the bid for Rs. 26 crore.

A look into his financials revealed that in the last 3 years he had "filed income tax returns of less than Rs. 100,000".

Amit Bahadur's (the bidder) SBI account had a balance of mere Rs. 4,840 as of 1 April.

In context: Punjab's Sand Mafia- Will Amarinder Singh change things?

20 Apr 2017Sand auctions only through e-bidding- CM Amarinder Singh

In an attempt to end the days of mining mafia in Punjab, CM Capt Amarinder Singh said fresh mine auctions will be held only through the e-bidding process.

The government has also decided to increase the benefit to land owners from Rs. 50 to Rs. 60/tonne.

CM said the Integrated Mines and Minerals Management System (i3MS) aimed at bringing transparency, too will be implemented.

21 May 2017Punjab gets record bids at the e-auction; unrealistic bids abound

In the 2 day auction of sand mines, almost 1000 bidders participated, making it a record for the state.

102 mines were up for e-auction of which 89 sand mines warrants a record revenue of Rs. 1,029 crore.

However, the auction observed a number of unrealistic bids and the government feels these bidders may not turn up.

Bidders have 2 days to deposit security.

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48 bidders back out, CM orders forfeiture and fresh e-bids

24 May 201748 bidders back out, CM orders forfeiture and fresh e-bids

The Punjab government couldn't net the entire Rs. 1,026 crore auction amount from sand quarries as bidders of 48 mine sites of the total 89 auctioned backed out.

The government said Rs. 35 crore of upfront money will be forfeited, the bidders blacklisted and a re-auction will take place.

CM said that the SAD-BJP cartel is broken as all the fictitious bidders backed out.

27 May 2017Punjab mines auction: Minister's "cook" bags Rs. 26 crore deal

27 May 2017What's cooking?- Minister says he has no stake in this

The cook is missing and irrigation minister Rana Gurjit has distanced himself from the controversy.

He has maintained that the cook left employment before seeking mining rights and that he does not have a stake in the e-bid business.

Interestingly, Rana Gurjit is the "richest MLA of Punjab's current assembly" with a reported wealth of Rs. 169 crore.

Opposition unimpressed, says Gurjit behind the scam

H.S. Phoolka, Punjab's leader of opposition said: "Gurjit must have asked Bahadur to quit a month before the mining sites were auctioned. How can a man with a salary of Rs. 11,000 deposit Rs. 13 crore and win rights for mining worth Rs. 26 crore?"