In yet another embarrassment to the Punjab government, a lawyer has now raised questions on the portfolio of Cabinet Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh. Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer HC Arora, has alleged that besides being a minister, Rana also owns a power company and distillery.
The advocate has asked Captain Amrinder Singh to either sack the minister or to ask him to sell his shares of the distillery and power firm.
"Captain Amrinder Singh wants to wipe out drugs from the state. He got people's mandate for this promise which he had made to the people So he formed a SIT and launched a state wide campaign to check drug smuggling and trafficking. But this campaign is incomplete as his cabinet colleague Rana Gurjeet Singh owns a distillery besides a power firm. He should give up the promotion of liquor," H C Arora told India Today.
The distillery owned by the minister and his family is located at village Louhka, Tehsil Patti, District-Taran Tarn.
MINISTER INVOLVED IN LIQUOR PROMOTION: ADVOCATE
The legal notice stated that Rana Gurjeet Singh is a major share holder in Rana Sugars Limited and is involved in promotion of liquor, and is earning profits from production and sale of liquor through the said company. The notice also said that while at one hand the State Government is reducing the number of liquor vends in the State, Rana Gurjit Singh is involved in "promotion of liquor" through production and sale of liquor.
"This is very serious and objectionable, as the State Government is fighting a war against drug-addiction of the State youth. Whether, a liquor baron should be allowed to remain in the Cabinet?" is a very serious and vital question in the present context. In my considered opinion, Rana Gurjeet Singh has to elect, as to whether he is to give up his involvement in production and sale of liquor, or to quit as a minister, without any further delay. He has no moral right to continue with both," H C Arora said.
The advocate has threatened to launch legal proceedings against the government in case the minister is not removed within 10 days.
MINISTER REFUTES ALLEGATIONS
Rana Gurjeet Singh, however, has rubbished the charges and said there was no conflict of interests him being a minister and an industrialist.
"If an agriculturist can become an agriculture minister, if a doctor can become a health minister or a lawyer can become a law minister, what is wrong if someone who has expertise in producing power becomes the power minister?," asked Rana.
"If a company in which I have stakes, is supplying power to the PSPCL in a transparent manner following all the norms and procedures and without my role or influence, should that be held against me?" Rana Gurjeet Singh added.