Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Central Bureau of Investigation

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Government of India


Agency executive
Alok Verma, Director

New Delhi

Central Bureau of Investigation sim03incomae43fb16e3bdbc848887291ecfb1130emjpg

1941 as the Special Police Establishment

Sanctioned: 6590 Actual: 5666 Vacant: 924 (14%) as on 31 December 2011

Parent agency
Supreme Court of India Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

Industry, Impartiality, Integrity

Annual budget
6.956 billion INR (US$103.4 million, 2017–2018)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of India, which simultaneously serves as the nation's prime federal law enforcement agency. It operates under the jurisdiction of the Government of India. The CBI is overseen by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the Federal government, headed by a Cabinet Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister.


As far as national security is concern its comparable to those of the American FBI, British MI5 or Russian FSS. However, CBI's powers and functions are limited to specific crimes by Acts (primarily the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946). Alok Verma has assumed the role[1] as the director since 19th Jan 2017

The CBI is involved in major criminal probes, and is the Interpol agency in India. The CBI was established in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment, tasked with domestic security. It was renamed the Central Bureau of Investigation on 1 April 1963. Its motto is "Industry, Impartiality, Integrity". Agency headquarters is in the Indian capital, New Delhi, with field offices located in major cities throughout India.

Special Police Establishment (SPE)

The Bureau of Investigation traces its origins to the Special Police Establishment, which was set up in 1941 by the government. The functions of the SPE were to investigate bribery and corruption in transactions with the War and Supply Department of India, set up during World War II with its headquarters in Lahore. The Superintendent of the War Department and the SPE was Khan Bahadur Qurban Ali Khan, who later became governor of the North West Frontier Province at the creation of Pakistan. The first legal advisor of the War Department was Rai Sahib Karam Chand Jain. After the end of the war, there was a continued need for a central governmental agency to investigate bribery and corruption by central-government employees.Sahib Karam Chand Jain remained its legal advisor when the department was transferred to the Home Department by the 1946 Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

This is DSPE's scope was enlarged to cover all departments of the Government of India. Its jurisdiction extended to the Union Territories, and could be further extended to the states with the consent of the state governments involved. Sardar Patel, first Deputy Prime Minister of free India and head of the Home Department, desired to weed out corruption in erstwhile princely states such as Jodhpur, Rewa and Tonk. Patel directed Legal Advisor Karam Chand Jain to monitor criminal proceedings against the dewans and chief ministers of those states.

Th DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution dated 1.4.1963.

CBI takes shape

The CBI established a reputation as India's foremost investigative agency with the resources for complicated cases, and it was requested to assist the investigation of crimes such as murder, kidnapping and terrorism. The Supreme Court and a number of high courts in the country also began assigning such investigations to the CBI on the basis of petitions filed by aggrieved parties. In 1987, the CBI was divided into two divisions: the Anti-Corruption Division and the Special Crimes Division.

D. P. Kohli

The founding director of the CBI was D. P. Kohli, who held the office from 1 April 1963 to 31 May 1968. Before this, Kohli was Inspector-general of police for the Special Police Establishment from 1955 to 1963 and held law-enforcement positions in Madhya Bharat (as chief of police), Uttar Pradesh and local central-government offices. For distinguished service, Kohli was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1967.

Kohli saw in the Special Police Establishment the potential to growing into a National Investigative Agency. He nurtured the organisation during his long career as inspector general and director and laid the foundation on which the agency grew.

Organisational structure

The CBI is headed by a Director, an IPS officer with a rank of Director General of Police . The director is selected based on the CVC Act 2003, and has a two-year term. Other ranks in the CBI which may be staffed by the IRS and the IPS are Special Director, Additional Director, Joint Director, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Senior Superintendent of Police, Superintendent of Police, Additional Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police. Inspector, Sub-Inspector, Assistant Sub-Inspector, Head constable, Constable which are recruited through SSC or through deputation from Police and Income Tax Department.

The CBI is subject to three ministries of the Government of India and Two Constitutional bodies:-

  1. Ministry of Home Affairs: Cadre Clearance
  2. DoPT: Administration, Budget and Induction of non IPS officers
  3. Union Public Service Commission: Officers of and above the rank of Deputy SP
  4. Law and Justice Ministry: Public prosecutors
  5. Central Vigilance Commission: Anti-corruption cases.

Selection committee

The amended Delhi Special Police Establishment Act empowers a committee to appoint the director of CBI. The committee consists the following people:

  • Prime Minister – chairperson
  • Leader of Opposition – member
  • Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge recommended by the Chief Justice – member
  • When making recommendations, the committee considers the views of the outgoing director.

    Above Selection committee was constituted under The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. Before this central vigilance commissioner, under CVC act, had this power.

    NDA government, on 25 November 2014, moved an amendment bill to do away with the requirement of quorum in high profile committee while recommending the names, for the post of director CBI, to the central government by introducing the clause "no appointment of a (CBI) director shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of members in the panel". and to replace the LOP with Leader of single largest opposition party or pre-election coalition as at present there is no Leader of opposition in the Loksabha.


    CBI headquarters is a 186 crore (US$28 million), state-of-the-art 11-story building in New Delhi, housing all branches of the agency. The 7,000-square-metre (75,000 sq ft) building is equipped with a modern communications system, an advanced record-maintenance system, storage space, computerised access control and an additional facility for new technology. Interrogation rooms, cells, dormitories and conference halls are provided. The building has a staff cafeteria with a capacity of 500, men's and women's gyms, a terrace garden, and bi-level basement parking for 470 vehicles. Advanced fire-control and power-backup systems are provided, in addition to a press briefing room and media lounge.

    The CBI Academy in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh (east of Delhi) began in 1996. It is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the New Delhi railway station and about 65 km (40 mi) from Indira Gandhi International Airport. The 26.5-acre (10.7 ha) campus, with fields and plantations, houses the administrative, academic, hostel and residential buildings. Before the academy was built a small training centre at Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi, conducted short-term in-service courses. The CBI then relied on state police-training institutions and the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad for basic training courses for deputy superintendents of police, sub-inspectors and constables.

    The Academy accommodates the training needs of all CBI ranks. Facilities for specialised courses are also made available to the officials of the state police, central police organisations (CPOs), public-sector vigilance organisations, bank and government departments and the Indian Armed Forces.

    Jurisdiction, powers and restrictions

    The legal powers of investigation of the CBI are derived from the DSPE Act 1946, which confers powers, duties, privileges and liabilities on the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) and officers of the Union Territories. The central government may extend to any area (except Union Territories) the powers and jurisdiction of the CBI for investigation, subject to the consent of the government of the concerned state. Members of the CBI at or above the rank of sub-inspector may be considered officers in charge of police stations. Under the act, the CBI can investigate only with notification by the central government.

    Relationship with state police

    Maintaining law and order is a state responsibility as "police" is a State subject, and the jurisdiction to investigate crime lies with the state police exclusively . The CBI being a Union subject may investigate:

  • Offences against central-government employees, or concerning affairs of the central government and employees of central public-sector undertakings and public-sector banks
  • Cases involving the financial interests of the central government
  • Breaches of central laws enforceable by the Government of India
  • Major fraud or embezzlement; multi-state organised crime
  • Multi-agency or international cases
  • High Courts and the Supreme Court

    The High Courts and the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to order a CBI investigation into an offence alleged to have been committed in a state without the state's consent, according to a five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court (in Civil Appeals 6249 and 6250 of 2001) on 17 Feb 2010. The bench ruled:

    Being the protectors of civil liberties of the citizens, this Court and the High Courts have not only the power and jurisdiction but also an obligation to protect the fundamental rights, guaranteed by Part III in general and under Article 21 of the Constitution in particular, zealously and vigilantly.

    The court clarified this is an extraordinary power which must be exercised sparingly, cautiously and only in exceptional situations.

    Right to Information (RTI)

    CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act. This exemption was granted by the government on 9 June 2011 (with similar exemptions to the National Investigating Agency (NIA), the Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation and the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid)) on the basis of national security. It was criticized by the Central Information Commission and RTI activists, who said the blanket exemption violated the letter and intent of the RTI Act. The exemption was upheld in Madras High Court.


    Because of the CBI's political overtones, it has been exposed by former officials such as Joginder Singh and B. R. Lall (director and joint director, respectively) as engaging in nepotism, wrongful prosecution and corruption. In Lall's book, Who Owns CBI, he details how investigations are manipulated and derailed. Corruption within the organisation has been revealed in information obtained under the RTI Act, and RTI activist Krishnanand Tripathi has alleged harassment from the CBI to save itself from exposure via RTI.

    Political interference

    Normally, cases assigned to the CBI are sensitive and of national importance. It is standard practice for state police departments to register cases under its jurisdiction; if necessary, the central government may transfer a case to the CBI. The agency has been criticised for its mishandling of several scams. It has also been criticized for dragging its feet investigating prominent politicians, such as P. V. Narasimha Rao, Jayalalithaa, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav; this tactic leads to their acquittal or non-prosecution.

    Bofors scandal

    In January 2006 it was discovered that the CBI had quietly unfrozen bank accounts belonging to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, one of those accused in the 1986 Bofors scandal which tainted the government of Rajiv Gandhi. The CBI was responsible for the inquiry into the Bofors case. Associates of then-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi were linked to alleged payoffs made during the mid-1980s by Swedish arms firm AB Bofors, with US$40 million in kickbacks moved from Britain and Panama to secret Swiss banks. The 410 howitzers purchased in the US$1,300 million arms sale were reported to be inferior to those offered by a French competitor.

    The CBI, which unfroze 21 crore (US$3.1 million) in a London bank in accounts held by Bofors, accused Quattrocchi and his wife Maria in 2006 but facilitated his travel by asking Interpol to take him off its wanted list on 29 April 2009. After communications from the CBI, Interpol withdrew the red corner notice on Quattrocchi.

    Hawala scandal

    A 1991 arrest of militants in Kashmir led to a raid on hawala brokers, revealing evidence of large-scale payments to national politicians. The Jain hawala case encompassed former Union ministers Ajit Kumar Panja and P. Shiv Shankar, former Uttar Pradesh governor Motilal Vora, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha. The 20 defendants were discharged by Special Judge V. B. Gupta in the 650-million case, heard in New Delhi.

    The judge ruled that there was no prima facie evidence against the accused which could be converted into legal evidence. Those freed included Bharatiya Janata Party president L. K. Advani; former Union ministers V. C. Shukla, Arjun Singh, Madhavrao Scindia, N. D. Tiwari and R. K. Dhawan, and former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana. In 1997 a ruling by late Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma listed about two dozen guidelines which, if followed, would have ensured the independence of the investigating agency. Sixteen years later, successive governments circumvent the guidelines and treat the CBI as another wing of the government. Although the prosecution was prompted by a public-interest petition, the cases concluded with no convictions. In Vineet Narayan & Othrs v Union of India AIR 1996 SC 3386, the Supreme Court ruled that the Central Vigilance Commission should have a supervisory role over the CBI.

    Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case

    In this case Santosh Kumar Singh, the alleged murderer of a 25-year-old law student, was acquitted for what the judge called "deliberate inaction" by the investigating team. The accused was the son of a high-ranking officer in the Indian Police Service, the reason for the CBI's involvement. The 1999 judgment noted that "the influence of the father of the accused has been there".

    Embarrassed by the judgment, CBI Director R. K. Raghavan appointed two special directors (P. C. Sharma and Gopal Achari) to study the judgement. The CBI appealed the verdict in Delhi High Court in 2000, and the court issued a warrant for the accused. The CBI applied for an early hearing in July 2006; in October the High Court found Singh guilty of rape and murder, sentencing him to death.

    Sister Abhaya

    This case concerns the 27 March 1992 death of a nun who was found in a water well in the Saint Pius X convent hostel in Kottayam, Kerala. Five CBI investigations have failed to yield any suspects.

    Sohrabuddin case

    The CBI has been accused of supporting the ruling Congress Party against its opposition, the BJP. The CBI is investigating the Sohrabuddin case in Gujarat; Geeta Johri, also investigating the case, claimed that the CBI is pressuring her to falsely implicate former Gujarat minister Amit Shah.

    Sant Singh Chatwal case

    Sant Singh Chatwal was a suspect in CBI records for 14 years. The agency had filed two charge sheets, sent letters rogatory abroad and sent a team to the United States to imprison Chatwal and his wife from 2–5 February 1997. On 30 May 2007 and 10 August 2008 former CBI directors Vijay Shankar and Ashwani Kumar, respectively, signed no-challenge orders on the imprisonment. Later, it was decided not to appeal their release.

    This closed a case of bank fraud in which Chatwal had been embroiled for over a decade. Along with four others, Chatwal was charged with being part of a "criminal conspiracy" to defraud the Bank of India’s New York branch of 28.32 crore (US$4.2 million). Four charges were filed by the CBI, with Chatwal named a defendant in two. The other two trials are still in progress. RTI applicant Krishnanand Tripathi was denied access to public information concerning the closed cases. The Central Information Commission later ordered the CBI to disclose the information; however, the CBI is exempt from the RTI Act (see above). Chatwal is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan.

    Malankara Varghese murder case

    This case concerns the 5 December 2002 death of T. M. Varghese (also known as Malankara Varghese), a member of the Malankara Orthodox Church managing committee and a timber merchant. Varghese Thekkekara, a priest and manager of the Angamali diocese of the rival Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (part of the Syriac Orthodox Church), was charged with murder and conspiracy on 9 May 2010. Thekkekara was not arrested after he was charged, for which the CBI was criticised by the Kerala High Court and the media.

    Bhopal gas tragedy

    The CBI was publicly seen as ineffective in trying the 1984 Bhopal disaster case. Former CBI joint director B. R. Lall has said that he was asked to remain soft on extradition for Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson and drop the charges (which included culpable homicide). Those accused received two-year sentences.

    2G spectrum scam

    The UPA government has been accused of allocating 2G spectrum to corporations at very low prices through corrupt and illegal means. The Supreme Court cited the CBI many times for its tardiness in the investigations; only after the court began monitoring its investigations were high-profile arrests made.

    Indian coal allocation scam

    This is a political scandal concerning the Indian government's allocation of the nation's coal deposits to private companies by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which cost the government 10,673.03 billion (US$160 billion). CBI director Ranjit Sinha submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court that the coal-scam status report prepared by the agency was shared with Congress Party law minister Ashwani Kumar "as desired by him" and with secretary-level officers from the prime minister’s office (PMO) and the coal ministry before presenting it to the court.


    Demanding independent investigations, the CBI said that although it deferred to the government's authority in non-corruption cases the agency felt that sufficient financial and administrative powers (including a minimum three-year tenure to ensure "functional autonomy") were required by the director.

    "As such, it is necessary that the director, CBI, should be vested with ex-officio powers of the Secretary to the Government of India, reporting directly to the minister, without having to go through the DoPT", the agency said, adding that financial powers were not enough and it wanted a separate budget allocation.

    Some form of autonomy has been granted by the Supreme Court of India to CBI when it held that CBI can prosecute senior bureaucrats without central government’s permission. Indian Supreme Court also held that Section 6A of DSPE Act is unconstitutional.

    Constitutional status

    Guwahati High Court had given a verdict on November 6, 2013, that CBI is unconstitutional and does not hold a legal status. However, the Supreme Court of India stayed this verdict when challenged by the central government and next hearing on this is fixed on December 6, 2013. Some legal experts believe that the ultimate solution for Indian government is to formulate a law for CBI as sooner or later the Supreme Court may hold the constitution of CBI unconstitutional.

    Conviction rate

    The CBI has a high conviction rate:


    Central Bureau of Investigation Wikipedia

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