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  • 27 August, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)

Historical Background

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation traces its origin to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) 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.
  • Superintendence of the S.P.E. 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.
  • The DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution in April 1963. Initially the offences that were notified by the Central Government related only to corruption by Central Govt. servants.
  • 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.
  • Founder Director: The founder director of the CBI was Shri D.P. Kohli who held office from 1st April, 1963 to 31st May, 1968.
  • The motto of the CBI is Industry, Impartiality and Integrity.
  • From 1965 onwards, the CBI has also been entrusted with the investigation of Economic Offences and important conventional crimes such as murders, kidnapping, terrorist crimes, etc., on a selective basis.
  • The SPE initially had two Wings. They were the General Offences Wing (GOW) and Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The GOW dealt with cases of bribery and corruption involving the employees of Central Government and Public Sector Undertakings. The EOW dealt with cases of violation of various economic/fiscal laws. Under this set-up, the GOW had at least one Branch in each State and the EOW in the four metropolitan cities, i.e, Delhi, Madras, Bombay and Calcutta. These EOW Branches dealt with offences reported from the Regions, i.e, each Branch had jurisdiction over several States.
  • As the CBI, over the years, established a reputation for impartiality and competence, demands were made on it to take up investigation of more cases of conventional crime such as murder, kidnapping, terrorist crime, etc.
  • Apart from this, even the Supreme court and the various High Courts of the country also started entrusting such cases for investigation to the CBI on petitions filed by aggrieved parties.
  • CBI is not only a premier anti corruption investigative agency in India but it has also the experience of handling high profile conventional crimes, economic offences, banking frauds and crimes with international linkages.
  • The CBI is designated as the National Central Bureau of India for ICPO-INTERPOL.


  • To uphold the Constitution of India and law of the land through in-depth investigation and successful prosecution of offences;
  • To provide leadership and direction to police forces and
  • To act as the nodal agency for enhancing inter-state and international cooperation in law enforcement.


Based on its motto, mission and the need to develop professionalism, transparency, adaptability to change and use of science and technology in its working, the CBI will focus on:

  • Combating corruption in public life, curb economic and violent crimes through meticulous investigation and prosecution.
  • Evolve effective systems and procedures for successful investigation and prosecution of cases in various law courts.
  • Help fight cyber and high technology crime.
  • Create a healthy work environment that encourages team-building, free communication and mutual trust.
  • Support state police organizations and law enforcement agencies in national and international cooperation particularly relating to enquiries and investigation of cases.
  • Play a lead role in the war against national and transnational organized crime.
  • Uphold Human Rights, protect the environment, arts, antiques and heritage of our civilization.
  • Develop a scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • Strive for excellence and professionalism in all spheres of functioning so that the organization rises to high levels of endeavor and achievement.

Who exercises supervision over CBI?

  • The superintendence of CBI related to investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 lies with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and in other matters with the Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) in the Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Grievances of the Government of India.

What types of Crime CBI investigate today?

CBI has grown into a multidisciplinary investigation agency over a period of time. Today it has the following three divisions for investigation of crime:-

  • Anti-Corruption Division - for investigation of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 & the Prevention of Corruption(Amendment) Act, 2018 against Public officials and the employees of Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, Corporations or Bodies owned or controlled by the Government of India - it is the largest division having presence almost in all the States of India.
  • Economic Offences Division - for investigation of major financial scams and serious economic frauds, including crimes relating to Fake Indian Currency Notes, Bank Frauds and Cyber Crime.
  • Special Crimes Division - for investigation of serious, sensational and organized crime under the Indian Penal Code and other laws on the requests of State Governments or on the orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The laws under which CBI can investigate Crime are notified by the Central Government under section 3 of the DSPE Act.

Other Functions of CBI

  • CBI can take over the investigation of a criminal case registered by the State Police in the following situations
  1. The concerned State Government makes a request to that effect and the Central Government agrees to it.
  2. The State Government issues notification of consent under section 6 of the DSPE Act and the Central Government issues notification under section 5 of the DSPE Act.
  3. The Supreme Court or High Courts orders CBI to take up such investigations.
  • Difference between National Investigation Agency and CBI: The NIA has been constituted after the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008 mainly for investigation of incidents of terrorist attacks, funding of terrorism and other terror related crime, whereas CBI investigates crime of corruption, economic offences and serious and organized crime other than terrorism.
  • SBI cannot take up suo moto investigation of any crime anywhere in India. As per section 2 of the DSPE Act, CBI can suo-moto take up investigation of offences notified in section 3 only in the Union Territories. Taking up investigation by CBI in the boundaries of a State requires prior consent of that State as per Section 6 of the DSPE Act. The Central Government can authorize CBI to investigate such a crime in a State but only with the consent of the concerned State Government. The Supreme Court and High Courts, however, can order CBI to investigate such a crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the State.
  • The conviction rate of CBI is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.
  • CBI has been notified as the Interpol of India. CBI has a training academy in Ghaziabad, where it organizes training courses in various subjects not only for its own officers but for officers from other countries as well as from State & UT police organizations, vigilance officers of Public Sector Undertakings, Banks etc.

Role of CBI as Interpol of India

  • In this era of globalization and information technology crime and criminals easily cross national boundaries.
  • Crime and Criminals have gone transnational.
  • The International Police Criminal Organization (ICPO or Interpol) has emerged as an important institution for strengthening cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies of various countries.
  • As Interpol of India, CBI acts as an interface between the law enforcement agencies of India and other countries to ensure such cooperation.
  • It facilitates exchange and sharing of information by these agencies. It also gets the red notices of the fugitive criminals, wanted in India, published. Besides above it also plays a role in negotiation and finalization of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) and Extradition Treaties between India and other countries.
  • CBI also facilitates execution of Letter of Requests for Investigation in India and out of India.
  • Extradition of Fugitives: CBI has a limited role in such matters. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is the nodal agency for extradition of fugitives. CBI Interpol can help the law enforcement agencies in tracing/locating the fugitive so that it can make a formal request for extradition of the fugitive to the MEA.

Source: cbi.gov.in

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