Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia on Friday asked Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to explain the renewal of mining contracts of two sand mining mafia kingpins within one month of their termination on charges of malpractices.
Addressing a press conference here, the SAD leader said, “I posed some straight questions to the CM yesterday including the renewal of mining contracts to Rakesh Chaudhary and Ashok Chandak despite the fact that they had been terminated following registration of several cases, institution of a CBI inquiry and even illegalities mentioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).”
He said instead of answering these questions, the CM fielded his spokespersons to claim that one of the contractors, Rakesh Chaudhary, had got a stay from the high court.
“This is no defence. If this was so, why was Chaudhary’s contract terminated in the first place? The government has not put the stay in the public realm, and even if it is so, it is guilty of misleading the court by hiding key facts including cases registered against Chaudhary, recovery charges of Rs 26 crore put against him and institution of CBI inquiry after he was accused of collecting goonda’ tax,” Majithia said.
The SAD leader accused mining director DPS Kharbanda of coming up with a new mining policy aimed at turning Punjab into a tax haven for black money aka virgin Islands. He said the new policy made by Kharbanda allowed entry of illegally mined sand from all neighbouring states into Punjab with the provision that the royalty for the same will be decided by the CM.
“This provision is aimed at encouraging corruption, which it has with more than 2,000 truckers entering Punjab every day and submitting only a fraction of the official royalty to the Punjab government. The remaining amount is being pocketed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP),” he said.
Majithia said Kharbanda’s arrest was necessary to trace the trail of money which would end at the doorsteps of AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal.
Terming the multi-crore mining scam as ‘mother of all scams’ which was even bigger than the Delhi excise policy scam, Majithia showed receipts to claim how only half of the royalty of Rs 7 was being charged officially from inter-state vehicles bringing sand and gravel into Punjab.
“This government has entered into an open alliance with the mining mafia and this is why it did not come out with a mining policy for so long. It is because of this that the chief minister is openly shielding the mining mafia,” he added.