Punjab minister's resignation accepted, Amarinder takes charge of portfolios

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Ever since the controversy against Rana Gurjit flared up, some senior Congress leaders have made "courtesy calls" to the high command, including party president Rahul Gandhi, over the last few days.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday confirmed that state Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh's resignation has been accepted.

To another question, the Chief Minister said he had also discussed with Rahul Gandhi the issue of reorganisation of the Punjab unit of the Congress.

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"I would be now be forwarding Rana Gurjit's resignation to the Governor for the necessary formalities", he said. "The party's interest should always be the priority", Rana told PTI after Amarinder said in Delhi that he had accepted the resignation of the power and irrigation minister.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday lambasted Chief Minister Capt Amaninder Singh for stooping to lowest level of cheating Punjabis for saving his corrupt minister by not accepting resignation of Rana Gurjeet. Confirming such a meeting, a senior party leader said it had nothing to do with the proposed expansion of the council of ministers or reshuffle of portfolios. It was alleged that he had acquired sand and gravel mining contracts through "benami transactions in the names of his cook and office staff".

Rana Gurjit had kicked up a controversy in May a year ago after his Nepalese cook Amit Bahadur won a sand mine bid worth Rs 26.51 crore at Saidpur Khurd village in Nawanshahar. "If there is a legal defence, I think we should defend him", he said, adding that the officer was good and honest. Then CM had then ordered a probe Justice JS Narang (retd) into the case.

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Meanwhile, Rana Gurjit's family-owned company Rana Sugars Limited is also accused of raising and parking almost Rs 100 crore in a foreign account.

In fact, many senior leaders, couple of ministers, and some MLAs and MPs have met Rahul Gandhi and given feedback of the party's standing, and that of the government in particular, in the state amidst the allegations against Rana Gurjeet for his involvement in the sand mining auctions, together with the summons to his son by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for raising funds overseas without mandatory permissions.

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