In a surprising turn of events, a 36-year old former cook at Punjab Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit company Rana Sugars, is now the owner of Rs 26 crore worth of sand and gravel mines in the state.
According to TOI, Amit Bahadur, a resident of Bilari in Moradabad made the winning bid of Rs 26 crore for sand mining rights at a recent Punjab government auction. What's interesting is that his State Bank of India account shows a balance of Rs 4,840 as of April 1.
Earning a mere salary of Rs 11,706 every month, Amit, somehow managed to deposit the first installment of Rs 13.34 crore on May 21 to mine at the Saidpur Khurd site in Nawanshahr, raising eyebrows of many who suspect Rana Gurjit's role behind it.
Gurjit, who owns a sugar distillery in Tarn Taran, happens to be the richest MLA of Punjab's current assembly, with a declared wealth of Rs 169 crore.
Gurjit, however, has claimed that he does not directly or indirectly hold a stake in the mining business and that Bahadur had quit the company after securing mining rights.
"There are thousands of employees who have worked with me and left from time to time and I cannot be held accountable for what they do after leaving my companies," Gurjit told TOI.
The opposition, on the other hand is certain that this is only a bid by Gurjit to enter into the mining business through Bahadur.
"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?" asked AAP's H S Phoolka, leader of the opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
According to The Tribune, at least three more employees of Rana Sugars have bagged mining contracts in the e-auction of 89 sand and gravel mining sites held on May 19th and 20th.
(Feature image source: PTI)