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Rajya Sabha TV In Depth: CBI – Central Bureau of Investigation

Rajya Sabha TV In Depth: CBI – Central Bureau of Investigation

(Topics covered: General Studies II – Governance, Polity)

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is India’s premier investigating agency that handles all high-profile cases. Its job is to ensure a fair and an impartial probe. But, recently in October 2018, two of the top officials of the agency have been reported to be involved in a major feud. This has led the Government of India to intervene in order to restore the institutional integrity and credibility of CBI.


Logo of CBI

  • Origins of CBI can be traced back to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) set up in 1941 in order to cases of bribery and corruption in War & Supply Department of India during World War II.
  • The need of a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption was felt even after the end of World War II. So, DSPE (Delhi Special Police Establishment) Act, 1946 was brought that gave legal power of investigating cases to CBI.
  • CBI is not a statutory body as it is not established by an Act of the Parliament.
  • CBI investigates cases related to economic crimes, special crimes, cases of corruption and other high-profile cases.
  • CBI comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. Various organizations under this Ministry are Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), CBI, Central Information Commission (CIC), etc.
  • CBI is exempted from Right to Information (RTI) Act similar to National Investigating Agency (NIA), National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), etc.
  • CBI is headed by a Director, an IPS (Indian Police Service) officer of the rank of Director General of Police. The director is selected based on CVC Act, 2003 for two years-term. Several other ranks in CBI are filled through recruitment by SSC or deputation from Police, Income Tax Department and Customs Department.
  • The appointment procedure of CBI Director has undergone several changes over time.


Initially, appointments were made as per Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.


2003: DSPE Act revised on Supreme Court’s recommendation. A committee that had members from Central Vigilance Commission, Secretaries from Home Ministry, Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances would send recommendations to Central Government for appointment of CBI Director.


2014: The Lokpal Act provided a committee headed by Prime Minister and members as Leader of Opposition/ Leader of single largest opposition party, Chief Justice of India/ a Supreme Court Judge for appointment of CBI Director was formed. Home Ministry sends list of eligible candidates to DoPT that prepares the final list and send it to the committee.

  • Established in 1902 by the British Government, CID (Crime Investigation Department) is an investigation and intelligence department of state police. On the other hand, CBI is an agency of the Central Government.
  • The ten regional zones of CBI are in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, Patna, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Bhopal and Delhi.
  • Central Government can authorize CBI to investigate cases in any state with the consent of the concerned state. Supreme Court and High Courts can also order the CBI to investigate without state’s consent.



CBI is an agency of Central Government that has wide range of investigating areas and powers. It was formed with a goal to check corruption and other crimes in the nation and so it shall maintain a clean image of itself. Any agency shall have a system of checks and balances and so, intervention of Government, CVC, Courts, etc shall be done if needed.