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Congress Top Brass Complicit in Punjab Sand Mining Scam, AAP Alleges

Uday Singh Rana |

Updated: May 30, 2017, 9:43 PM IST
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Congress Top Brass Complicit in Punjab Sand Mining Scam, AAP Alleges
AAP spokesperson Ashutosh. (Picture courtesy: Twitter)

New Delhi: Upping the ante against the Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab government in the sand mining scam; the Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday claimed that it was not possible for “a scam of such scale” to take place unless the Congress high-command were complicit in the case.

Addressing reporters, AAP senior leader and spokesperson Ashutosh said, “It has not even been three months since the Congress formed the government in Punjab and they have already started indulging in corruption. This is the same Congress party that used to talk about sending the Akali Dal mafia to jail. But today, instead of making good on their promise of an anti-corruption drive, they have joined hands with the mafia.”

He added that AAP was of the firm belief that the chief minister was in the know of this scam. “If that was not the case, how and why did it take so long for him to respond to this case?” he said.

Just three months after his emphatic win in the Punjab Assembly polls, Captain Amarinder Singh’s government is battling allegations of corruption. Rana Gurjit, the power minister in the Punjab cabinet, has been accused by the AAP and Akali Dal of awarding sand mining contracts to people close to him under questionable circumstances. A day after party chief Arvind Kejriwal interacted with the state unit in Amritsar, the AAP is planning a massive demonstration outside CM Amarinder Singh’s residence in Chandigarh.

One of the 89 contracts awarded by the Amarinder government has gone to 36-year-old Amit Bahadur, who used to work as a cook for power minister Rana Gurjit. AAP legislator from Bholath, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who is leading the charge against the Congress government, told News 18, “The man in question is Amit Bahadur, who was a cook. He has a monthly salary of just Rs 11,000. How is it that a man who makes such little money was able to procure a contract worth Rs. 26 crore? In fact, he paid Rs 13.5 crore up front. Where did he get so much money? Neither Gurjit nor Captain have answered the questions.”

Bahadur’s Income Tax returns, a copy of which is with News 18, show that his annual income was Rs. 75,390 in financial year 2013-14 and Rs. 92, 860 in 2015-16. His total salary for the month of February 2017, when Congress won a landslide majority in the Punjab assembly, is shown as Rs. 11, 706. According to Khaira and the AAP, these facts point to a larger scam than just a simple conflict of interest.

Khaira added, “That it is a conflict of interest is apparent. The facts mentioned point towards a benami and hawala racket being operated out of Punjab. At the Center of it all, is a minister in the Amarinder government. I am certain that this money is from Rana Gurjit’s shady dealings. In terms of corruption, the Congress is looking to outdo even the Akalis.”

First Published: May 30, 2017, 9:43 PM IST
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