Central Bureau of Investigation: Wikis


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Central Bureau of Investigation
केंद्रीय अन्वेषण ब्यूरो
Kendriya Anveshan Byuro
Motto Industry, Impartiality and Integrity
Agency overview
Formed 1963, April 1
Preceding agency Special Police Establishment (SPE) (1941)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency India
Governing body Government of India
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Agency executive Ashwani Kumar, Director
Parent agency Department of Personnel and Training
Child agency Interpol National Central Bureau India branch
Branchs 52

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) (Hindi: केंद्रीय अन्वेषण ब्यूरो 'Kendriya Janch Bureau'), is India's premier investigating agency, responsible for a wide variety of criminal and national security matters. It was established on 1 April 1963 and evolved from the Special Police Establishment founded in 1941.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is controlled by the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension of the Union Government usually headed by a Union Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister. While analogous in structure to the FBI, the CBI's powers and function are severely limited to specific crimes based on Acts (mainly the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946). The CBI is the official Interpol unit for India.The current director of CBI is Ashwani Kumar (since August 2, 2008).



The Central Bureau of Investigation traces its origin to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) (Hindi: विशेष पुलिस संस्थापन Vishesh Police Sansthapan), which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India. The functions of the SPE then were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with the War & Supply Deptt. Of India during World War II. Superintendent of the SPE was vested with the War Department. Even after the end of the War, the need for a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees was felt. The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act was therefore brought into force in 1946. This Act transferred the superintendence of the SPE to the Home Department and its functions were enlarged to cover all departments of the Govt. of India. The jurisdiction of the SPE extended to all the Union Territories and could be extended also to the States with the consent of the State Government concerned.


Founder Director

DP Kohli the founder Director of CBI

The founder director of the CBI was D.P. Kohli who held office from 1 April 1963 to 31 May 1968. Before this, he was Inspector-General of Police of the Special Police Establishment from 1955 to 1963. Before that he held responsible positions in police in Madhya Bharat, Uttar Pradesh and Govt. of India. He was Police Chief in Madhya Bharat before joining the SPE. Kohli was awarded 'Padma Bhushan' in 1967 for his distinguished services.

Kohli was a visionary who saw in the Special Police Establishment the potential of growing into the national investigative agency. He nurtured the organisation during his long stint as Inspector General and as Director and laid the solid foundation on which the organisation grew over the decades to become what it is today.

CBI takes shape

As the CBI, over the years, established a reputation of being India's premier investigative agency with adequate resources to deal with complicated cases, demands were made on it to take up investigation of more cases of conventional crime such as murder, kidnapping, terrorism, etc. Apart from this, the Supreme court and even the various High Courts of the country also started entrusting such cases for investigation to the CBI on petitions filed by aggrieved parties. Taking into account the fact that several cases falling under this category were being taken up for investigation by the CBI, it was found expedient to entrust such cases to the Branches having local jurisdiction.

It was therefore decided in 1987 to constitute two investigation divisions in the CBI, namely, Anti-Corruption Division and Special Crimes Division, the latter dealing with cases of conventional crime, besides economic offences. The CBI is a central subject under the Constitution of India, meaning that it reports to the Indian Government and not to the individual states.

Role and Functions

The CBI is the premier investigating police agency in India. It is an elite force playing a major role in preservation of values in public life and in ensuring the health of the national economy. It is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member countries. The services of its investigating officers are sought for all major investigations in the country. CBI as an organisation is held in high esteem by the Supreme Court, the High Courts, the Parliament and the public. The CBI has to investigate major crimes in the country having interstate and international ramifications. It is also involved in collection of criminal intelligence pertaining to three of its main areas of operation, viz., Anti-Corruption, Economic Crimes and Special Crimes.

CBI investigations have a major impact on the political and economic life of the nation. The following broad categories of criminal cases are handled by the CBI:

  • Anti Corruption Division: Cases of corruption and fraud committed by public servants of all Central Govt. Departments, Central Public Sector Undertakings and Central Financial Institutions.
  • Economic Crimes Division: Deals with cases including bank frauds, financial frauds, Import Export & Foreign Exchange violations, large-scale smuggling of narcotics, antiques, cultural property and smuggling of other contraband items etc.
  • Special Crimes Division: Deals with cases such as cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, sensational homicides, kidnapping for ransom and crimes committed by the mafia/the underworld.

Structure of CBI

The CBI is headed by a Director. Director is selected based on the procedure laid down by CVC Act 2003 and has a tenure of 2 years. The other important ranks in the CBI are Special Director, Additional Director, Joint Director, Deputy Inspector General of Police,Sr. Superintendent of Police, Superintendent of Police, Additional Superintendent of Police, Dy. Superintendent of Police, Inspector, Sub-Inspector, Assistant Sub-Inspector, Head Constable and Constable.[1]

According to annual reports Staff of CBI is usually divided between Ministerial staff, Ex-cadre posts which are usually of technical nature, Executive Staff and EDP Staff. Hindi Bhasha staff belongs to the Deptt of official languages.

Ministerial Staff includes LDC, UDC, Crime Assistants etc. Executive Staff includes Constables, ASI, Sub-Inspectors, Inspectors etc. EDP Staff includes Data Entry Operators, Data Processing Assistants, Assistant Programmers, Programmers and SSA.

Jurisdiction Powers, privileges and liabilities

The legal powers of investigation of CBI are derived from the DSPE Act 1946. This Act confers concurrent and coextensive powers, duties, privileges and liabilities on the members of Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) with Police Officers of the Union Territories. The Central Government may extend to any area, besides Union Territories, the powers and jurisdiction of members of the CBI for investigation subject to the consent of the Government of the concerned State. While exercising such powers, members of the CBI of or above the rank of Sub Inspector shall be deemed to be officers incharge of Police Stations of respective jurisdictions. The CBI can investigate only such of the offences as are notified by the Central Government under the DSPE Act.

Jurisdiction of CBI vis-a-vis State Police

Law and Order is a State subject and the basic jurisdiction to investigate crime lies with State Police. Besides, due to limited resources, CBI would not be able to investigate crimes of all kind. CBI may investigate:

  • Cases which are essentially against Central Govt. employees or concerning affairs of the Central Govt. and the employees of the Central Public Sector Undertakings and Public Sector Banks.
  • Cases in which the financial interests of the Central Government are involved.
  • Cases relating to the breaches of Central Laws with the enforcement of which the Government of India is mainly concerned.
  • Big cases of fraud, cheating, embezzlement and the like relating to companies in which large funds are involved and similar other cases when committed by organised gangs or professional criminals having ramifications in several States.
  • Cases having interstate and international ramifications and involving several official agencies where, from all angles, it is considered necessary that a single investigating agency should be incharge of the investigation.

Former Directors (1961 - Present)

Name Period Notes
D P Kohli 1963–68
F. V. Arul 1968–71
D Sen 1971-77
S N Mathur 1977 Acting
C V Narsimhan 1977 Acting
John Lobo 1977–79
R D Singh 1979-80
J S Bajwa 1980–85
M G Katre 1985-89
A P Mukherjee 1989–90
R Sekhar 1990 Acting
Vijay Karan 1990–92
S K Datta 1992–93
K V R Rao 1993–96
J Singh 1996–97
R C Sharma 1997–98
D R Karthikeyan 1998 Acting
T N Mishra 1998–99
R K Raghavan 1999–2001
P C Sharma 2001–2003
U S Misra 2003–2005
V S Mishra 2005–2008
A Kumar 2008-Present


Normally, cases assigned to the CBI are sensitive and of national importance. It is a usual practice for the respective state police departments, to initially register any case coming under its jurisdiction, and if necessary, through mediation by the central government, the cases may be transferred to the CBI. The CBI handles many high profile cases, and is never far from controversy.

Bofors issue

In January 2006, it was found that CBI had quietly unfrozen bank accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, one of the prime accused in the Bofors scandal of 1986 which had tainted the Rajiv Gandhi government.[2] The Central Bureau of Investigation has been responsible for the inquiry into the Bofors Case. Associates of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi were linked to alleged pay-offs made in the mid-1980s by the Swedish arms form AB Bofors, with $40 million in kickbacks moved from Britain and Panama to secret Swiss banks. The $1,300 million arms purchase of 410 howitzer field guns involved in the sale were reported to be inferior to those offered by a French competitor.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which defreezed Rs 21 crore stashed in a London bank in two accounts held by Bofors scam accused Ottavio Quattrocchi and his wife Maria in 2006, has facilitated his travel across the globe by asking Interpol to take him off the “wanted” list on 29 Apr 2009. Following a communication from the CBI, the Interpol has withdrawn the Red Corner Notice against the Italian. The development that comes barely three weeks before the end of the Manmohan Singh government’s tenure has brought back the issue of the Bofors scandal to the centre stage.

ISRO spy ring case

In 1994 two scientists with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and two Indian businessmen were arrested for allegedly conspiring to sell space secrets to two Maldivian women, who were originally described by newspapers as agents of Pakistani intelligence, for money and sex. The CBI investigation did not reveal the existence of a spy ring, and by early 1995 it was clear that the case was more a product of inexperience and over exuberation on the part of the police and Intelligence Bureau.It was a well planned scheme to remove the then DGP Ramon S by concocted links to Maldivian lady. The scheme was plotted by some officers of Kerala police, the media and Muslim League as DGP was made of sterner stuff.

Hawala scandal

In 1991 an arrest linked to militants in Kashmir led to a raid on hawala brokers, revealing evidence of large-scale payments to national politicians. The prosecution that followed was partly prompted by a public interest petition (see Vineet Narain), and yet the court cases of the Hawala scandal eventually all collapsed without convictions. The CBI's role was again criticised. In concluding the Vineet Narain case, the Supreme Court of India directed that the Central Vigilance Commission should be given a supervisory role over the CBI.[3]

Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case

The CBI has been under a cloud owing to its handling of the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, in which the alleged murderer of a 22-year old law student was acquitted for what the case judge called "deliberate inaction" by the investigating team. The accused was the son of a high ranking officer in the Indian Police Service, due to which the case had been shifted from the regular police force to the CBI. However, the 1999 judgment commented on how "the influence of the father of the accused has been there". Embarrassed by the judgment, the-then CBI Director, R K Raghavan, requested two Special Directors, P C Sharma and G H Achari, to study the judgement. Subsequently the CBI appealed the verdict in Delhi High court in 2000, after which the High Court issued a bailable warrant against the accused. The case again shot into limelight in 2006 after much media coverage and public bashing (this was mainly due to a similar acquittal in another high profile case though not handled by the CBI). The CBI filed an application for early hearing in July 2006. The High Court subsequently found Santosh Kumar Singh guilty of rape and murder and awarded death sentence for the same in October 2006.

Nithari Killings

The CBI was given the responsibility of investigating the murders of dozens of children in the Nithari village near Noida, UP. This was after the local police was found to be incompetent and lethargic in their investigations. The serial killings were in the Indian and international media for weeks since decomposing bodies were found outside the house of the accused Moninder Singh.

Dawood Ibrahim case

In August 2007, the CBI asked its Pakistani counterpart, the Federal Investigation Agency, for its comments on recent media reports about the detention of Dawood Ibrahim by authorities in Karachi.

Sister Abhaya murder case

Sister Abhaya murder case concerns a nun, who was found dead in a water well in Saint Pius X convent hostel in Kottayam, Kerala on 27 March 1992. Altogether there were five CBI inquiries into the murder case so far without any tangible results. The powerful Catholic Lobby had exerted their undue influence to subdue the case as a Bishop and a nun were involved. Abhaya had caught them in a compromising position.[4]


CBI has a high conviction rate.

Year Conviction Rate
2008 66.2% [5]
2007 67.7% [6]

CBI Academy

CBI Academy at Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, started functioning in 1996. The Academy is situated towards east of Delhi, in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh[7] at a distance of around 40 km from New Delhi Railway Station and about 65 km from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. It is spread over of 26.5 acres (107,000 m²) of lush green fields and plantations with a covered area consisting of the Administrative, Academic, Hostel and Residential Blocks. Prior to that a small Training Centre was functional at Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi only for conducting short term in-service courses. CBI then, was dependent on State Police Training Institutions and NPA, Hyderabad for training basic courses of Dy.SsP, SIs and constables. The Academy now caters to the training needs of all ranks of CBI. Training facilities for certain specialised courses are also made available to the officials of State Police, Central Police Organisations (CPO), Vigilance organisations of public sector undertakings, banks and government departments and Indian Armed Forces.

In popular media

The CBI film series is a set of Malayalam films directed by K. Madhu starring Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer, a sharp and highly intelligent investigative officer of the CBI. Till 2005, four films were released in the series:Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988, A CBI diary note) and Jagratha (1989, Caution), Sethuramayyar CBI (2004) and Nerariyan CBI (2005, In pursuit of truth CBI).

The Recent CBI Series Film is Kandhaswamy (2009) in Tamil. The budget is around Rs 40 Cr. This film shows how the CBI is cracking down Recovering Black Money which are deposited in Swiss Banks. But unlike the malayalam CBI-film series, Kandhaswamy's story is not that realistic. In this movie the director of CBI supports illegal ways of distributing black money acquired from the riches.


Further reading

The 24th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Working of CBI 2008[2]

External links


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