A sense of intrigue was palpable through much of the day in the third-floor corridors of Shastri Bhawan in the Capital,which houses the Union coal ministry.
With the Supreme Court taking up for hearing the affidavit filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha on the status report prepared by the investigation agency regarding the coal block allocations between 2006 and 2009,senior coal ministry officials were found glued to their television sets till the afternoon,lapping up the news alerts and assessing their potential fallout.
Post lunch,when the court finally took up the matter,the ministrys top brass is learnt to have huddled together in a room to analyse the impact of the observations made by the bench headed by Justice RM Lodha.
The feeling of consternation among the top rung of the coal ministry was understandable,considering that the ministrys joint secretary AK Bhalla has been named by Sinha in his affidavit as one of the officials who had suggested changes to the original report.
Bhalla is the chief vigilance officer (CVO) of the coal ministry and has been the nodal official coordinating with the CBI and other investigating agencies in providing information required by them. So far,the coal ministry has shared about 768 files pertaining to the investigating to the CBI and 10 more were slated to be handed over to it.