Central Bureau of Investigation

The Central Bureau of Investigation: All You Need to Know

This article on ‘The central bureau of investigation: All you need to know‘ was written by Muskan Kumari an intern at Legal Upanishad.


The Central Bureau of Investigation is the name of India’s top investigative police force (CBI). It is the primary investigative body for the Union Government and is tasked with looking into a wide range of criminal and national security issues. Prior to its creation on April 1, 1963, the CBI received authority from the Special Police Force (SPF). Later on, though, the Home Ministry of the Indian government took control of it.

Since the CBI is a specialist organisation, it deals with issues involving government corruption as well as other economic expenses including scandals and scams. In contrast to the police force, it does not deal with routine and general issues. In order to secure the protection of national security, it primarily deals with economic and conventional violations.

Context About History

The then-Government of India understood during the early stages of World War II that increasing wartime spending had exacerbated corrupt behaviour among both officials and non-officials. The State Governments’ law enforcement agencies, including the police, were insufficient to handle the crisis. Due to these factors, it was necessary to establish a special entity to look into crimes relating to these transactions.

As a result, the Government of India established the Special Police Establishment (S.P.E.) in 1941 by executive order under the direction of a Deputy Inspector General of Police.

  • The SPE’s duties included looking into allegations of bribery and corruption in deals involving the War and Supply Department of the Government of India.
  • The Department of War and Supply at the time was given control of the SPE.
  • As the movement and delivery of war materials were vitally important to the Railways, the SPE’s activities were expanded to include allegations of corruption in the Railways in 1942.

The Special Police Establishment (SPE), founded in 1941 by the Indian government, is where the Central Bureau of Investigation gets its name. During World War II, the SPE’s duties included looking into cases of bribery and corruption involving transactions with the War & Supply Department. The Central Government organisation charged with looking into allegations of bribery and corruption involving Central Government workers opted to keep working even after the War was over.

In 1946, the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act became operative. This Act expanded the SPE’s mandate to include all government agencies in India and moved the SPE’s supervision to the Home Department. The SPE had authority over all Union Territories, and with the permission of the relevant State Government, it could also have jurisdiction over the States. The creation of the CBI was advised by the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption.

A Home Ministry resolution from 1.4.1963, which gave the DSPE its well-known current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), was responsible.

  • General Offenses Wing (GOW) and Economic Offenses Wing were the SPE’s first two wings (EOW).
  • The EOW dealt with cases of violations of different economic/fiscal regulations, whereas the GOW handled cases of bribery and corruption involving personnel of the Central Government and Public Sector Entities.

The CBI is not just India’s top investigative body for fighting corruption, but it also has expertise in addressing high-profile conventional crimes, economic crimes, banking frauds, and crimes with connections to other countries. For ICPO-INTERPOL, the CBI is known as the National Central Bureau of India.[2]

Functionary of CBI

Investigation of various instances and frauds is the CBI’s primary duty. It gathers data specifically on corruption in central government agencies and central public enterprises. Additionally, the Central Vigilance Commission typically handles instances involving corruption. Every CBI case begins with the filing of a complaint. The complaints ought to shed light on issues of corruption, mistakes, or improper behaviour on the part of public employees. The next phase of the study involves gathering all sources and supporting data using accounts, annual reports, verification surveys, etc.

The complaint In this case may be made verbally or in writing, or it may even be publicised through media outlets like newspapers and social media. Normally, CBI stays out of situations involving the state or its citizens, but in rare instances, if the situation is serious and important to the public, and the state asks CBI to intervene, it may. [3]

Central Bureau of Investigation
Central Bureau of Investigation

Goals of CBI

Industry, Impartiality, and Integrity are CBI’s motto. CBI’s mission is to:-

  1. Fighting corruption in society, reducing economic and violent crime through thorough investigation and prosecution.
  2. Create efficient systems and practices to ensure successful case investigation and prosecution in a variety of legal forums.
  3. Assist in the fight against high-tech and cybercrime.
  4. Establish a positive working atmosphere that promotes trust between co-workers, open communication, and teamwork.
  5. Encourage state police organisations and law enforcement organisations to collaborate on a national and international level, especially when it comes to inquiries and investigations into Cases.
  6. Take the initiative in the fight against domestic and international organised crime.
  7. Uphold human rights, safeguard the environment, the arts, antiques, and our civilization’s cultural heritage.
  8. Develop a humanistic outlook, a scientific mindset, and a spirit of reformation.
  9. Strive for excellence and professionalism in all areas of operation to help the company reach new heights of effort and success.[4]

Cases managed by the CBI

  • Special Crimes – for investigation of serious and organised crime under the Indian Penal Code and other laws on requests of State Governments or orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts – such as cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, kidnapping for ransom, and crimes committed by the mafia/the underworld.
  • Crimes relating to Fake Indian Currency Notes, Bank Frauds, Cyber Crime, Import Export & Foreign Exchange Violations, Large- Scale Smuggling of Narcotics, Antiques, Cultural Property, Smuggling of Other Contraband Items, etc. are just a few examples of serious economic fraud and financial scams that are investigated under the heading of economic crimes.
  • Anti-Corruption Crimes – for the investigation of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act involving public officials and the staff of the central government, public sector enterprises, corporations, or bodies owned or controlled by the government of India.
  • Suo Moto Cases – The CBI can only suo-moto investigate crimes in Union Territories.
    • The Central Government may give the CBI permission to look into a crime in a State, but only with the agreement of the State Government in question.
    • However, without the State’s permission, the Supreme Court and High Courts can direct the CBI to look into a crime anywhere in the nation.[5]


The Central Bureau of Investigation primarily handles cases involving issues of national security and avoids becoming involved in pointless investigations. Even though it is a top-tier national force, it still needs structural changes in order to function effectively. The main justification for this is how it handles politically delicate topics without becoming involved in conflicts.

When handling any case against the superior, it continues to let people down despite being referred to by the Supreme Court as a “Caged Parrot.” The CBI has to have financial independence and, more crucially, statutory status through legislation, similar to that granted to the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Election Commission of India, in order to win back the public’s trust and restore the integrity of the agency.[6]