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Sand Mine-winning 'Crorepati Cook' Denies Cooking for Punjab Minister

Right at the centre of the controversy enveloping Punjab Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, his 'cook' has spoken to CNN-News18 and said he has had no dealings in the sand mining bids on behalf of the cabinet minister.

Jyoti Kamal | CNN-News18jyotik

Updated:May 30, 2017, 10:57 AM IST
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Sand Mine-winning 'Crorepati Cook' Denies Cooking for Punjab Minister
Amit Bahadur denied ever being the cook of Rana Gurjit Singh and also denied having any dealings with the Power Minister considered to be close to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. (Image: TV Grab)

Chandigarh: Right at the centre of the controversy enveloping Punjab Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, his 'cook' has spoken to CNN-News18 and said he has had no dealings in the sand mining bids on behalf of the cabinet minister.

Amit Bahadur, the cook who filed Income Tax returns touching barely a lakh rupees in annual income and earning around Rs 11,000 as salary in February, says he has not invested in the sand mine auctions recently held by the Punjab Government Directorate of Mining under the Department of Industries and Commerce. Amit Bahadur made the largest bid amounting to almost Rs 26 crore for a sand mining block in SBS Nagar district in Punjab.

Amit Bahadur denied ever being the cook of Rana Gurjit Singh and also denied having any dealings with the Power Minister considered to be close to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Bahadur acknowledged that some years ago he was an employee of Rana Gurjit Singh, but was never his cook.

Explaining his source of funding that facilitated his making a Rs 26-crore bid and also depositing Rs 13 crore after winning the bid, Amit Bahadur said he is working with a businessman named Capt Randhawa and on his direction, he had bid for the sand mines. He says it was an open bid and all the money to make the bids was paid by Randhawa — a businessman who is his partner. Bahadur said he bid on his name but with Randhawa’s money and that he is open to any investigation by income tax or enforcement directorate authorities.

Rana Gurjit had earlier said that Amit Bahadur is no longer working with him and is now working with a friend of his and that he does not know who had bid for the mines.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered setting up a one-man judicial commission to probe allegations of impropriety against Gurjit Singh in the multi-crore sand mining auctions conducted recently by the state government.

The inquiry would be conducted by Justice (Retd) JS Narang and he would submit his report within one month. The terms of reference for the inquiry commission, formed under the Commission of Inquiry Act, would be notified soon stated the Punjab Government.

Rana Gurjit offered to resign in order to ensure a free and fair investigation into the matter. The Chief Minister, it was stated by the Punjab Government, however, asked Rana Gurjit to continue till the outcome of the judicial probe.

Punjab had e-auctioned 102 minor mineral mines of sand and gravel in 14 Punjab districts on May 19 and 20.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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