Central Bureau of Investigation

Central Bureau of Investigation

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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
  • 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.

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 65 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.

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