The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating police agency in India. Read here to know more about the agency.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is an elite force playing a major role in the 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.
It functions under the Department of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances of the Government of India.
It is not a statutory body; it derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
It works under the supervision of the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) in matters of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
History of Central Bureau of Investigation
During the early stages of World War II, the then Government of India realized that expanded expenditure connected with the war had increased corrupt practices among both officials and non-officials.
The Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies, which functioned under the State Governments, were not adequate to cope with the situation.
It was under these circumstances, that the setting up of a separate organization to investigate offenses connected with these transactions became a necessity.
Consequently, the organization known as the Special Police Establishment (S.P.E.) was created under a Deputy Inspector General of Police by the Government of India, in 1941, by executive order.
- The functions of the SPE were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with which the War and Supply Department of the Government of India was concerned.
- The superintendence of the SPE was vested in the then War and Supply Department.
- In 1942, the activities of the SPE were extended to include cases of corruption in the Railways also, as the Railways were strategically concerned with the movement and supply of war material.
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 Department during World War II.
Even after the end of the War, the Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees decided to be continued.
The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act was 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 Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption recommended the establishment of the CBI.
The DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution dated 1.4.1963.
The SPE initially had two Wings- 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.
CBI is not only a premier anti-corruption investigative agency in India but has also experience in handling high-profile conventional crimes, economic offenses, banking frauds, and crimes with international linkages.
The CBI is designated as the National Central Bureau of India for ICPO-INTERPOL.
Director of CBI
Director, CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organization.
In 2014, the Lokpal Act provided a committee for the appointment of CBI Director:
- Headed by Prime Minister
- Other members – Leader of Opposition/ Leader of the single largest opposition party, Chief Justice of India/ a Supreme Court Judge.
- Home Ministry sends a list of eligible candidates to DoPT. Then, the DoPT prepares the final list on basis of seniority, integrity, and experience in the investigation of anti-corruption cases, and sends it to the committee
In 2021, The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, of 1946 and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, of 2003 were amended to extend the tenure of CBI and ED directors respectively.
- Provided that the period for which the Director holds the office on his initial appointment may, in the public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee (the committee led by the Prime Minister and leader of Opposition and CJI as members) and for the reasons to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time.
- Provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment.
Jurisdiction of Central Bureau of Investigation
- Initially, the offenses that were notified by the Central Government related only to corruption by Central Govt. servants.
- As a large number of public sector undertakings came up, the employees of these undertakings were also brought under CBI purview.
- Similarly, with the nationalization of the banks in 1969, the Public Sector Banks and their employees also came within the ambit of the CBI.
- 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.
CBI can suo-moto take up investigation of offenses only in the Union Territories.
- The Central Government can authorize CBI to investigate 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 a crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the State.
Missions of CBI
- 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 inquiries and investigation of cases.
- Play a lead role in the war against national and transnational organized crime.
- Uphold Human Rights, and 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
Criticisms faced by the Central Bureau of Investigation
- Political interference in the investigations by CBI has been flagged regularly.
- There is a shortage of personnel within the agency and most of the workforce is drawn from other cadres like IPS.
- The powers and jurisdiction of members of the CBI for investigation are subject to the consent of the State Government, thus limiting the extent of the investigation by the CBI.
- At the central level also prior approval from the government is needed to investigate employees, especially at the level of joint secretary and above.
- The number of mishandled cases by CBI and scams due to political pressure has tainted the imagery of the agency.
- The agency lacks functional and financial autonomy which is a huge drawback for an investigation agency.
Central agencies like CBI, ED, etc should be brought under an independent umbrella institution. The institution should have checks and balances and audits regularly to demand honest functioning.
Such agencies usually get caught in the center-state tussle hindering their functioning- this should be dealt with carefully. The central law can be replicated by states as well so that the burden of increasing cases can be shared.
The social and public reputation of CBI needs to be regained; hence functional reforms will be needed. There is also a need of bringing gender parity into the organization.