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$50 million) (2011-2012)|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Governing body||Government of India|
|Headquarters||New Delhi, India|
|Agency executive||Ranjit Sinha,IPS, Director|
|Parent agency||Department of Personnel and Training|
|Child agency||Interpol National Central Bureau India branch|
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the foremost investigating police agency in India, an elite force which plays a role in public life and ensuring the health of the national economy. It is under the jurisdiction of the Government of India. 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. The CBI is overseen by the Department of Personnel and Training of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the Union Government, headed by a Union Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister. While analogous in structure to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America, the CBI's powers and functions are limited to specific crimes by Acts (primarily the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946). The current CBI director is Ranjit Sinha.
- 1 History
- 2 Organisational structure
- 3 Selection committee
- 4 Infrastructure
- 5 Jurisdiction, powers and restrictions
- 6 Directors (1963–present)
- 7 Right to Information (RTI)
- 8 Criticism
- 8.1 Corruption
- 8.2 Political interference
- 9 Autonomy
- 10 Constitutional status
- 11 Convictions
- 12 In popular culture
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Special Police Establishment (SPE)
The Central Bureau of Investigation traces its origins to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) (Hindi: विशेष पुलिस संस्थापन, Vishesh Police Sansthapan), established 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. Rai 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.
The SPE'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.
The SPE acquired its current name by a Home Ministry resolution dated 1 April 1963, and the bureau was consolidated.With the 1969 bank nationalisation, banks and their employees also fell within the ambit of the CBI.
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.
The CBI is headed by a director, an IPS officer with a rank of Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police (State). 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 IPS are Special director, Additional director, Joint director, Deputy inspector general of police, Senior superintendent of police and Superintendent of police. Additional superintendent of police, Deputy superintendent of police, Inspector, Sub-inspector, assistant sub-inspector, head constable, senior constable and Constable are recruited through SSC or through deputation from Police and Income Tax Departments.
The CBI is subject to five ministries of the Government of India:-
- Ministry of Home Affairs: Cadre clearance
- DoPT: Administration, budget and induction of non IPS officers
- Union Public Service Commission: Officers above the rank of Deputy SP
- Law and Justice Ministry: Public prosecutors
- Central Vigilance Commission: Anti-corruption cases
According to the CVC Act 2003, the committee recommends a panel of officers for director of the CBI. It consists of:
- Chief Vigilance Commissioner – chairperson
- Vigilance Commissioners – members
- Secretary, Home Ministry – member
- Secretary (Coordination and Public Grievances) in the Cabinet Secretariat – member
When making recommendations, the committee considers the views of the outgoing director. Final selection is made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet from the panel recommended by the selection committee.
CBI headquarters is a 186 crore (US$31 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 kilometres (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 to 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:
- Offenses 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 offense 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.—Five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India, 
|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|
|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 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.
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.
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$3.5 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.
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 lndia 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 22-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.
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$4.7 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 allocated 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 10673.03 billion (US$180 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.
The constitutional status of CBI is always in doubt as it is not supported by any legal framework for its existence and operation. Many have suggested legal frameworks for CBI (Pdf) from time to time but till now we have no dedicated law for CBI in India.
Gauhati 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 would held the constitution of CBI unconstitutional.
The 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 CBI officer). By 2011 four films were released in the series, and a fifth is in production. The first four are Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988, a CBI diary), Jagratha (1989), Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004) and Nerariyan CBI (2005).
- S.P. Balasubrahmanyam plays CBI officer Laxminarayan in the 1993 Tamil film Thiruda Thiruda, where CBI chases a stolen RBI safe.
- Nagma plays Sarojini Harischandran, a lady CBI officer in 2001 Tamil film, Citizen
- Zayed Khan plays CBI officer Vishal Malhotra in the 2003 Hindi film, Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne.
- Arjun plays CBI officer Vivek Varma in the Tamil film, Bommalattam.
- Vikram plays Kanthasamy (a CBI officer) in the 2009 Tamil film, Kanthaswamy.
- Shankar Nag plays a CBI officer in the film CBI Shankar.
- Akshay Kumar stars in Special 26, inspired by a March 19, 1987 robbery in which a group (posing as CBI officers) conducted an income-tax raid on the Opera House store of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri in Mumbai.
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- Mohan, Vishwa (27 November 2006). "Origin of Hawala funds were not traced". India Times.
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- "Malankara Varghese murder: HC questions CBI". The New Indian Express. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
- "Was told to go soft on Warren Anderson: Former CBI official". NDTV.
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- Last Updated: 14 December 20:18 pm IST (15 January 2010). "SC pulls up CBI for tardy spectrum probe". Thestatesman.co.in. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
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- Liz Mathew, Sahil Makkar (2013-04-26). "Coal scam report shared with law minister: CBI". Livemint. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
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- "Central Government Permission Is Not Required By CBI To Prosecute Senior Bureaucrats For Corruption Cases Monitored By Supreme Court Of India". Civil Liberties Protection In Cyberspace. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "Supreme Court Of India Holds That Section 6A Of DSPE Act Requiring Prior Sanction Of Central Government To Prosecute Senior Bureaucrats Is Unconstitutional". Perry4Law Organisation’s Blog – An Exclusive And Global Techno Legal Knowledge Base. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
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- "Supreme Court of India Stayed Gauhati High Court Decision Declaring CBI To Be An Unconstitutional Agency". Perry4Law Organisation’s Blog – An Exclusive And Global Techno Legal Knowledge Base. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
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