Central Bureau of Investigation 


Central Bureau of Investigation 
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About Us

Overview | CBI & its Roles | Divisions


  1. At an early stage of World War-II, the Government of India realised that vast increase in expenditure for war efforts had provided opportunities to unscrupulous and anti-social persons, both officials and non-officials, for indulging in bribery and corruption at the cost of public and the Government. It was felt that Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies under the State Governments were not in a position to cope with the situation. An executive order was, therefore, passed by the Government of India in 1941, setting up the Special Police Establishment (SPE) under a DIG in the then Department of War with mandate to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with which War and Supply Department of the Government of India was concerned. At the end of 1942, the activities of the SPE were extended to include cases of corruption on Railways also, presumably because the Railways were vitally concerned with movement and supply of war materials.


  1. In 1943, an Ordinance was issued by the Government of India, by which a Special Police Force was constituted and vested with powers for the investigation of certain offences committed in connection with the departments of the Central Government committed anywhere in British India. As a need for a Central Government Agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption was felt even after the end of the war, the Ordinance issued in 1943, which had lapsed on 30th September, 1946 was replaced by Delhi Special Police Establishment Ordinance of 1946. Subsequently, the same year Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 was brought into existence.


  1. CBI derives power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. Section 2 of the Act vests DSPE with jurisdiction to investigate offences in the Union Territories only. However, the jurisdiction can be extended by the Central Government to other areas including Railway areas and States under Section 5(1) of the Act, provided the State Government accords consent under Section 6 of the Act. The executive officers of CBI of the rank of Sub Inspector and above, exercise all powers of a station office in-charge of the police station for the concerned area for the purpose of investigation. As per Section 3 of the Act, Special Police Establishment is authorised to investigate only those cases, which are notified by the Central Government from time to time.


  1. After promulgation of the Act, superintendence of SPE was transferred to the Home Department and its functions were enlarged to cover all departments of the Government of India. The jurisdiction of SPE was extended to all the Union territories and the Act provided for its extension to States with the consent of the State Government. The Headquarters of SPE was shifted to Delhi and the organisation was put under the charge of Director, Intelligence Bureau. However, in 1948, a post of Inspector General of Police, SPE was created and the organisation was placed under his charge.


  1. In 1953, an Enforcement Wing was added to the SPE to deal with offences under the Import and Export Control Act. With the passage of time, more and more cases under laws other than Prevention of Corruption Act and violations of Import and Export Control Act also came to be entrusted to the SPE. In fact, by 1963 SPE was authorised to investigate offences under 91 different sections of Indian Penal Code and 16 other Central Acts besides offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947.


  1. A growing need was felt for a Central Police Agency at disposal of the Central Government which could investigate not only cases of bribery and corruption, but also violation of Central fiscal laws, major frauds relating to Government of India departments, public joint stock companies, passport frauds, crimes on the high seas, crimes on the Airlines and serious crimes committed by organised gangs and professional criminals. Therefore, the Government of India set up Central Bureau of Investigation by a resolution dated 1st April, 1963 with the following divisions:
    • Investigation &Anti Corruption Division (Delhi Special Police Establishment)
    • Technical Division
    • Crime Records and Statistics Division
    • Research Division
    • Legal and General Division
    • Administration Division


  2. The Investigation & Anti-Corruption Division (Delhi Special Police Establishment) was entrusted with the following mandate in the resolution although it continued to derive its jurisdiction and powers from DSPE Act, 1946.
    • Cases in which public servants under the control of the Central Government are involved either by themselves or along with State Government servants and/or other persons.
    • Cases in which the interests of the Central Government, or of any public sector project or undertaking, or any statutory corporation or body set up and financed by the Government of India are involved.
    • Cases relating to breaches of Central Laws with the enforcement of which the Government of India is particularly concerned, e.g.
      1. Breaches of Import and Export Control Orders
      2. Serious breaches of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,
      3. Passport frauds
      4. Cases under the Official Secrets Act pertaining to the affairs of the Central Government.
      5. Cases of certain specified categories under the Defence of India Act or Rules with which the Central Government is particularly concerned
    • Serious cases of cheating or fraud relating to the Railways, or Posts & Telegraphs Department, particularly those involving professional criminals operating in several States.
      1. Crime on the High Seas
      2. Crime on the Airlines
    • Important and serious cases in Union Territories particularly those by professional criminals.
    • Serious cases of fraud, cheating and embezzlement relating to Public Joint Stock Companies.
    • Other cases of a serious nature, when committed by organised gangs or professional criminals, or cases having ramifications in several States including Union Territories, serious cases of spurious drugs, important cases of kidnapping of children by professional inter State gangs, etc. These cases will be taken up only at the request of or with the concurrence of the State Governments/Union Territories Administrations concerned.
    • Collection of intelligence about corruption in the public services and the projects and undertakings in the public sector.
    • Prosecution of cases investigated by this Division.
    • Presentation of cases before Enquiry Offices in which departmental proceedings are instituted on the recommendation of this Division.


  3. CBI was further strengthened by addition of an Economic Offences Wing by a Government of India Resolution dated 29.2.1964. At this time, CBI had two investigation Wings; one called the General Offences Wing which dealt with cases of bribery and corruption involving employees of Central Government/PSUs and the other Economic Offences Wing, which dealt with cases of violation of fiscal laws.


  1. In September, 1964 a Food Offences Wing was formed to collect intelligence regarding hoarding, black marketing, smuggling and profiteering in food grains and take up such cases having inter-state ramifications in view of the situation prevailing at that time. It was merged in the Economic Offences Wing in 1968.


  1. With the passage of time, requests were made by various quarters for CBI to take up investigation even in conventional crimes like assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, crimes committed by extremists, violation of Official Secrets Act, large scale Banks and Insurance Frauds etc. and others specific cases like Bhagalpur Blindings, Bhopal Gas Tragedy etc. Since early 1980's, constitutional courts also started referring cases to CBI for enquiry/investigation on the basis of petitions filed by the aggrieved persons in cases of murders, dowry deaths, rape etc. In view of these developments, it was decided in 1987 to have two investigation Divisions in CBI namely Anti Corruption Division and Special Crimes Division, the latter dealing with cases of conventional crimes as well as economic offences.


  2. Even after the establishment of Special Crimes Division, Special Cells were created to take up investigations in important & sensational cases of conventional nature, e.g., Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted in 1991 to investigate cases relating to the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Special Investigation Cell-IV was created in 1992 to investigate cases relating to the demolition of Babri Majid in Ayodhya and Special Task Force was created in 1993 to take up investigation relating to bomb blast in Bombay. Bank Frauds and Securities Cell was created in 1992 to investigate cases related to Bank Frauds & Securities scams.


  3. Over a period of time, some of the work originally allotted to the CBI was transferred to other organisations. Part of the work relating to Crime Records and Statistics Division was transferred to NCRB and that relating to Research Division was transferred to BPR&D.


  4. Due to increased work load relating to Securities Scam cases and rise in economic offences with the liberalization of Indian economy, a separate Economic Offences Wing was established in 1994 consequent to the approval of reorganization plan of the CBI. Accordingly, three investigation Divisions were created in CBI. (a) Anti Corruption Division To deal with cases of corruption and fraud committed by public servants of all Central Government Departments, Central Public Sector Undertakings and Central Financial Institutions. (b) Economic Crimes Division - To deal with bank frauds, financial frauds, Import Export & Foreign Exchange Violations, large-scale smuggling of narcotics, antiques, cultural property and smuggling of other contraband items etc. (c) Special Crimes Division To deal with cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, sensational homicides, kidnapping for ransom and crimes committed by the mafia/underworld.


  5. Pursuant to the direction of Hon'ble Supreme Court in Vineet Narayan and others vs. Union of India, the existing Legal Division was reconstituted as the Directorate of Prosecution in July 2001. As on date, CBI has the following Divisions:
    • Anti Corruption Division

    • Economic Offences Division
    • Special Crimes Division
    • Directorate of Prosecution
    • Administration Division
    • Policy & Coordination Division
    • Central Forensic Science Laboratory


  6. Over the years, the Central Bureau of Investigation has emerged as a premier investigating agency of the country which enjoys the trust of the people, Parliament, Judiciary and the Government. In the last 75 years, the organisation has evolved from an anti corruption agency to a multi faceted, multi disciplinary central police law enforcement agency with capability, credibility and legal mandate to investigate and prosecute offences anywhere in India. As on date offences under 69 existing Central and 18 State Acts, 231 offences under the Indian Penal Code have been notified by the Central Government under section 3 of the DSPE Act.


  7. Director, CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organisation. With enactment of CVC Act, 2003 the Superintendence of Delhi Special Police Establishment vests with the Central Government save investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in which, the superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission. Director, CBI has been provided security of two year tenure in CBI by the CVC Act, 2003. The CVC Act also provides mechanism for selection of Director, CBI and other officers of the rank of SP and above in CBI.