Income Tax raids on Punjab ex-minister's corporate offices
(5 months ago)
Chandigarh, Feb 16 : Income Tax officials on Friday conducted a raid on the corporate offices of various companies owned by the family of controversial former Punjab cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh.
The raid started on Friday morning and was underway till afternoon, informed sources said. Further details are awaited.
Employees and officials of various companies under the Rana Group of Companies were not allowed to enter the premises after the raid started. The companies include Rana Sugars, Rana Polycot, Rana Distilleries and Rana Informatics.
The billionaire minister, who has business interests in liquor and sugar manufacturing, is considered close to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The Chief Minister had been defending him despite the corruption controversies around him.
Rana was forced to resign from Punjab's Congress government headed by Amarinder last month owing to the controversy over the multi-million rupee mining scandal. Amarinder was reluctant to accept Rana's resignation but the Congress high command forced him to resign.
Rana and his family-owned companies are facing allegations of corruption and money laundering.
Considered one of the most powerful ministers in Punjab and a close aide of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Rana Gurjit was holding the important portfolios of irrigation and power.
Rana Gurjit had courted controversy in the past few months in the multi-crore sand mining auctions done by the Amarinder Singh government which came to power in March last year.
People associated with Gurjit Singh and his companies had bagged multi-crore rupee sand mining contracts in May last year. One of these was a cook with Rana Gurjit earlier.
It was alleged that these people were just fronts for the minister and his companies and the sand mining contracts were picked up through benami means.
A one-man commission headed by retired Justice J.S. Narang had given a 'clean chit' to Rana Gurjit in the sand mining auction controversy last year.
Rana's son, Inder Pratap Singh, who is a director in the company, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last month in Jalandhar over allegations of raising Rs 100 crore abroad without taking permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The ED had earlier issued summons in the matter to the minister's son.