3 states blame Indian government for coal scam

New Delhi: Indian mining states of West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha Tuesday told the Supreme Court that they were in no way invovled in coalgate and squarely blamed the Centre for alleged irregularities in coal blocks allocation.

Appearing before a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, the counsel appearing for these states submitted that they were merely following Centre's directions.

"Centre is the master and we have just meticulously followed it's direction in allocation of coal blocks. We have no other role in it," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the states of West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, said.

Odisha government in its affidavit also submitted that central government exercised "pervasive control" in allocation of coal blocks and Centre framed its own guidelines for it.

"The allocation of coal blocks was made by the central government from 1993 to 2012 by evolving its own mechanism by constituting a screening committee, which framed its own guidelines and also followed the guidelines framed by the ministry of coal from time to time," the affidavit said.

The counsel for all seven states submitted that the apex court should first hear the stand of the Centre and states be allowed to make submission thereafter.

"Our stand is that the Centre is the master and we followed its decision. Let centre first argue," Rohatgi submitted.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, however, said that he will not be able to argue the case this year because he is busy with other work and urged the court to ask states to argue their case.

Accepting his plea, the bench asked the states to argue the case from December 5 onwards.

The apex court had sought responses from seven mining states– Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal– after it had observed that the Centre was giving "contradictory" stands on allocations.