CBI turns 60: Looking back at India’s premier investigating agency

CBI traces its origin to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India.

The CBI is designated as the National Central Bureau of India for ICPO-INTERPOL.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in New Delhi on Monday (April 3), the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Sunday.

“During the programme, an Investiture Ceremony for recipients of President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service and Gold Medal for Best Investigating Officers of CBI will be held wherein Prime Minister will confer medals to the awardees,” PMO said in a statement.

Modi will also inaugurate newly constructed office complexes of CBI at Shillong, Pune and Nagpur.

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He will release a postage stamp and commemorative coin marking the diamond jubilee celebration year of CBI. He will also launch the Twitter handle of CBI.

As the CBI celebrates 60 years of its existence, let us look back at the history of India’s premier investigating police agency.

CBI’s journey since 1963

The CBI was established by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India dated 1 April, 1963.

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CBI functions under the Department of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Government of India. It is the premier investigating police agency in India.

It is an elite force playing a major role in 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.

Tracing CBI’s origin

CBI 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 Of India during World War II.

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According to the official website of CBI, superintendence of the SPE 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 dated 1.4.1963. Initially the offences that were notified by the Central Government related only to corruption by Central Government servants,” the central agency said.

The founder director of the CBI was DP Kohli who held office from 1 April, 1963 to 31 May, 1968.

CBI’s motto, mission, vision

Motto – “Industry, Impartiality and Integrity.”

Mission – “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 interstate and international cooperation in law enforcement.”

Vision – “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 organisation rises to high levels of endeavour and achievement.”

Investigating economic offences and more

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.

“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 said.

“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,” it explained.

The CBI is designated as the National Central Bureau of India for ICPO-INTERPOL.

Consent from states

As per section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, the CBI needs consent from the respective state governments to conduct investigations in their jurisdiction.

Nine states – Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and West Bengal have withdrawn general consent to the CBI to investigate cases, Union Minister Jitendra Singh told Parliament last month.

In terms of the provision of section 6 of the DSPE Act, 1946, the state governments have granted general consent to the CBI for the investigation of a specified class of offences against specified categories of persons, enabling the agency to register and investigate those specified matters, Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said.