Central Bureau of Investigation
|Central Bureau of Investigation
केंद्रीय अन्वेषण ब्यूरो
Kendriya Anveshan Bureau
|Common name||Central Bureau of Investigation|
|Seal of the Central Bureau of Investigation|
|Motto||Industry, Impartiality, Integrity|
|Formed||1 April 1963|
|Preceding agency||Special Police Establishment (SPE) (1941)|
Vacant: 924 (14%)
as on 31 December 2011
|Annual budget||303.79 crore (US$52 million) (2011-2012)|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Governing body||Government of India|
|Headquarters||New Delhi, India|
|Agency executive||Ranjit Sinha, Director|
|Parent agency||Department of Personnel and Training|
|Child agency||Interpol National Central Bureau India branch|
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is a premier investigating police agency in India, and is an elite force which plays a major role in preservation of values in public life and in ensuring the health of the national economy. It is a governmental agency under Government of India. The services of its investigating officers are irrefutably sought for by all major criminal probes in the country. The CBI is the official Interpol unit for India.
The agency was established in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment, and was tasked with simple domestic security outlining. The Central Bureau of Investigation was later established on 1 April 1963. Its motto is "Industry, Impartiality, Integrity".
The agency headquarters is a state-of-the-art building located in the capital, New Delhi. The agency has other field offices located in major cities throughout India, such as Mumbai. The CBI is controlled by the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension of the Union Government, which is 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 functions are severely limited to specific crimes based on Acts (mainly the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946). The current CBI Director is Ranjit Sinha.
Special Police Establishment (SPE)
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. The functions of the SPE were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with the War & Supply Department of India, which was set up during the course of World War II, with its headquarters at Lahore. The Superintendent of War Department and SPE was Khan Bahadur Qurban Ali Khan who later on became the Governor of North West Frontier Province on the creation of Pakistan. The first legal advisor of War Department was Rai Sahib Karam Chand Jain. 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. Rai Sahib Karam Chand Jain continued to remain the Legal Advisor when this department was later transferred to the Home Department under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that was brought into force in 1946.
The scope of SPE was enlarged to cover all departments of the Govt. of India. The jurisdiction of the SPE extended to all the Union Territories and could also be extended to the States with the consent of the State Government concerned. Sardar Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister of free India and in charge of the Home Department, took special interest in weeding out corruption from the erstwhile princely states like Jodhpur, Rewa, Tonk etc. Sardar Patel directed the Legal Advisor Karam Chand Jain to monitor the criminal proceedings against the Dewans/ Chief Ministers of these states.
The DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution dated 1.4.1963. In due course, with the setting up of a large number of public sector undertakings, the employees of these undertakings were also brought under CBI purview. Similarly, with the nationalisation of the banks in 1969, the Public Sector Banks and their employees also came within the ambit of the CBI.
CBI takes shape
As the CBI 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 cases of more 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 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 reports to the central Indian government and not to the individual states.
D. P. Kohli
The founding 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, a position he held from 1955 to 1963. Before that, he held responsible positions in police procedure in Madhya Bharat, Uttar Pradesh and in localized central government patterns. He was Chief of Police in Madhya Bharat before joining the SPE. For his distinguished services, Kohli was awarded 'Padma Bhushan' in 1967.
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 agency grew over the decades to become what it is today.
Organisational and rank structure
The CBI is headed by a main director, an IPS Officer of the rank of Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police (State). Director is selected based on the procedure laid down by CVC Act 2003, and has a total tenure of two completed years. The other ranks in the CBI 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, Sub-Inspector, Assistant Sub-Inspector, Head Constable, Senior Constable and Constable.
The CBI is dependent upon five different ministries of the Government of India for its functioning:-
- the Ministry of Home Affairs for cadre clearance
- the DoPT for administration to whom it reports for day-to-day working, allocation of funds and induction of officers
- the Union Public Service Commission for officers above the rank of Deputy SP
- the Law and Justice Ministry for appointing and paying salaries to the public prosecutors
- the Central Vigilance Commission for all anti-corruption cases
As per CVC Act 2003, the committee is empowered to recommend a panel of officers for the post of the Director of CBI. The committee consists of:
- Chief Vigilance Commissioner—Chairperson
- Vigilance Commissioners—Members
- Secretary, Home Ministry—Member
- Secretary (Coordination and Public Grievances) in the Cabinet Secretariat—Member
- While making any recommendation, the committee takes into consideration the views of the outgoing Director.
This building is spread in around 7,000 metres² and equipped with modern communication systems, advanced systems for maintaining records, fitted storage space and computerised access control along with a provision of add-on facility for new technology. Interrogation rooms, lock-ups, dormitories and conference halls are also provided at various floors. The CBI headquarters offer to its staff a large cafeteria which can accommodate 500 persons, separate gyms for men and women, a terrace garden and a double level basement parking for about 470 vehicles. An advanced fire-fighting system, as well as power back-up is provided. Besides, there is a well designed Press Briefing Room and Media Lounge.
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 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 107,000 metres² (26.5 acres) of lush green fields and plantations 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.
This 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.
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 in charge of Police Stations of respective jurisdictions. The CBI can investigate only such of the offenses 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 in charge of the investigation.
Power and jurisdiction of High Courts and Supreme Court
Notwithstanding above limitations, the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India have the power and jurisdiction to order a CBI investigation into a cognizable offense alleged to have been committed within the territory of a State without the consent of that State. This matter was settled by a five judge constitutional bench of Supreme Court of India (in Civil Appeal 6249, 6250 of 2001) on 17 Feb 2010. The bench said:
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.—A five judge constitutional bench of Supreme Court of India, 
Directors (1963 – present)
|D. P. Kohli||1963–68|
|F. V. Arul||1968–71|
|S N Mathur||1977|
|C V Narsimhan||1977|
|R D Singh||1979–80|
|J S Bajwa||1980–85|
|M G Katre||1985–89|
|A P Mukherjee||1989–90|
|S K Datta||1992–93|
|K V R Rao||1993–96|
|R C Sharma||1997–98|
|D. R. Karthikeyan||1998|
|T N Mishra||1998–99|
|Dr. R K Raghavan||4 Jan 1999 – 30 Apr 2001|
|P C Sharma||30 Apr 2001 – 6 Dec 2003|
|U S Misra||6 Dec 2003 – 6 Dec 2005|
|Vijay Shanker Tiwari||12 Dec 2005 – 31 Jul 2008|
|Ashwani Kumar||2 Aug 2008 – 30 Nov 2010|
|Amar Pratap Singh||30 Nov 2010 – 30 Nov 2012|
|Ranjit Sinha||30 Nov 2012 - present|
Right to Information (RTI)
CBI is exempted from the purview of the Right to Information Act. This exemption was granted by the government on 9 June 2011 (along with National Investigating Agency (NIA), Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation and the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid)) on the basis that the CBI handles cases related to national security. However, this move was criticized by Central Information Commission as well as various RTI activists saying this blanket exemption is not in the letter and spirit of RTI Act. The validity of the exemption was upheld by Madras High Court.
Corruption in CBI
Because of its intensely political overtones, it has been exposed by its former bigwigs like Joginder Singh and BR Lall who were Director and Joint Director respectively, to be engaging in nepotism, mal-prosecution and outright corruption. In his book, Who Owns CBI, BR Lall, an honest and upright CBI officer details the modus operandi of manipulating and derailing investigation This organisation has become synonymous with corruption as information obtained under the RTI Act has revealed. RTI activist Krishnanand Tripathi has alleged harassment from CBI in order to save itself from exposure through RTI.
Political interference in cases
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. The CBI has come under severe criticism recently for its mishandling of several scams. The CBI has also been criticized for going slow against prominent politicians like P. V. Narasimha Rao, Jayalalithaa, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav which either lead to their acquittal or their non-prosecution.
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. The CBI was responsible for the inquiry into the Bofors Case. Associates of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi were linked to alleged pay-offs made in the mid-1980s by the Swedish arms firm AB Bofors, with US$40 million in kickbacks moved from Britain and Panama to secret Swiss banks. The 410 howitzer field guns 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$3.6 million) in a London bank in accounts held by Bofors scam accused 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 April 2009. Following a communication from the CBI, Interpol withdrew the Red Corner Notice against Quattrocchi. The development, that came barely three weeks before the end of the Manmohan Singh government’s tenure, brought the issue of the Bofors scandal back to centre stage. It is often suspected that ruling governments interfere with the work of the CBI, and the handling of the Bofors investigation by CBI under Congress governments has created a new synonym for CBI. After letting off the Bofors accused, Oppositions have never tired to call it the 'Congress Bureau of Investigation'.
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 Jain Hawala Case has shown that corruption has now taken the front seat in India. Former Union ministers Ajit Kumar Panja, P Shiv Shankar, former Uttar Pradesh governor Motilal Vora, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha, accused in the case, were discharged by Special Judge V B Gupta in the 650 million Jain hawala case in New Delhi. The judge said there was no prima facie evidence against the accused which could be converted into legal evidence. With this, 20 accused in the hawala case have been discharged by the Delhi high court and the trial court. These include Bharatiya Janata Party president L K Advani and 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 bench of the then CJI, the late J.S. Verma, listed about two dozen guidelines, which, had they been implemented properly, would have ensured independence and autonomy of the investigating agency. Sixteen years later, successive governments have managed to circumvent the guidelines, issued as part of the famous judgment in the Jain hawala case, and continue to treat the CBI as just another wing of the government.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. In concluding the Vineet Narayan & Othrs v Union of lndia AIR 1996 SC 3386, the Supreme Court of India directed that the Central Vigilance Commission should be given a supervisory role over the CBI.
Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case
The CBI has been under a cloud owing to its handling of the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, in which Santosh Kumar Singh, 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 Gopal 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 was again prominent 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 a death sentence for the same in October 2006.
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.
CBI has been accused of acting for the ruling party Congress (UPA) to trap its opposition party mainly BJP. CBI, which is dealing with the Sohrabuddin case in Gujarat. Geeta Johri, who is investigating the case, claimed that the CBI is pressuring her to falsely implicate former Gujarat Minister Amit Shah in the case.
Sant Singh Chatwal case
Sant Singh Chatwal was an accused in the CBI’s records for 14 years. CBI had filed two chargesheets naming him as accused; sent Letters Rogatory abroad; even sent a probe team to the US and put Chatwal and his wife behind bars from 2 to 5 February 1997. On 30 May 2007 and 10 August 2008, former CBI Directors Vijay Shankar and Ashwani Kumar respectively signed orders saying there was no need to challenge the discharge of Sant Singh Chatwal and his co-accused. This was done in spite of advice of a string of investigators – including a Special Director and Joint Director – and it was decided not to appeal his discharge.
This, in effect, closed the 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 to the tune 28.32 crore (US$4.9 million). In all, four chargesheets were filed by the CBI, with Chatwal named as accused in two. The trials in the other two cases are still in progress. RTI applicant Krishnanand Tripathi was denied access to public information concerning the closed cases. CIC later ordered the CBI to disclose the information. But as CBI has recently been exempted from RTI act and it is unclear if this information will be disclosed or not. Sant Singh Chatwal has been awarded with Padma Bhushan despite these cases.
Malankara Varghese murder case
The Malankara Varghese murder case concerns the death of T. M. Varghese also known as Malankara Varghese, a member of Malankara Orthodox Church's managing committee and a timber merchant in 5 December 2002.On 9 May 2010 charged Father Varghese Thekkekara, a priest and manager of the Angamali diocese in the rival Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (a part of the Syriac Orthodox Church) with conspiracy in the murder of Malankara Varghese and named him as the prime accused. Till date, the prime accused has not been arrested, CBI was highly criticised for this by Kerala High Court and Media.
Bhopal gas tragedy
The public perceived that the CBI was very ineffective in trying the Bhopal gas tragedy case. The former CBI joint director B. R. Lall has now confessed that he was asked to remain soft on extraditing the Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson, and dropped charges, including culpable homicide, against those accused in this case, who received two-year sentences.
2G Spectrum Scam
2G spectrum was allotted by UPA government at throwaway prices to companies through corrupt and illegal means. Supreme Court of India pulled up the CBI many times for its tardy progress in the investigations. It was only after the SC decided to monitor its investigations, the CBI moved faster and arrests of high-profile persons were made.
Indian coal allocation scam
It is a political scandal concerning the Indian government's allocation of the nation's coal deposits to private companies by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh causing a loss of INR 10673.03 billion (US$200 billion) to Government. CBI director Ranjit Sinha submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the coal scam status report prepared by the investigating agency was shared with the law minister Ashwani Kumar (from Indian National Congress) “as desired by him”, joint secretary-level officers from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the coal ministry before presenting it to the court CBI stated to SC that 20% if its original report was changed by UPA Government.
Ranjit Sinha said SC that CBI is part of government and hence not autonomous. Additional Solicitor-General Harin Raval resigned. SC said that it will liberate CBI from political interference to make CBI credible, impartial and independent. Supreme Court in a scathing fashion criticized CBI, as a “caged parrot” of its masters, for behaving like puppets of politicians. And in an unusual turn of events, the CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has even accepted the accusations by the apex Court.
CBI has a high conviction rate.
In popular culture
- The CBI franchise is a series of Malayalam films directed by K. Madhu, scripted by S. N. Swami, and starring Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer, a celebrated fictitious CBI officer. Till 2011, four films have been released in the series while a fifth one is in production. The films so far released are: Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988, A CBI diary note), Jagratha (1989, Caution), Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004) and Nerariyan CBI (2005, CBI in pursuit of truth).
- S.P. Balasubrahmanyam plays the role of CBI officer Laxminarayan in the 1993 Tamil Thiruda Thiruda where CBI chases a stolen RBI money vault.
- Shankar Nag plays the role of a CBI officer in movie CBI Shankar.
- Akshay Kumar starrer Special 26 is inspired by a real-life heist on March 19, 1987 where a group posing as CBI officers executed an income tax raid on the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri in Mumbai.
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