The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) was first conceived in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment by the then Government of India in accordance with CBI Constitution.
The basic purpose for the establishment of this institution was the realization that the massive expenditures incurred by the government on the war had created a situation which allowed both officials and non-official persons to profit from, at the cost of the Indian government and the economy.
The inadequacy of the police to deal with such problems was apparent, since these bodies, functioning under the government, were unable to properly investigate cases involving government officials. Thus, these circumstances warranted the setting up of a new and separate organization which would focus only on the cases of bribery and corruption (which were plaguing the country) which lead to CBI Constitution.
Functions Of Special Police Establishment(SPE)
The main aim and functions of the S.P.E., at the time of its conception, were to investigate such cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with the War and Supply Department of the Government of India. However, later on, the activities of the S.P.E. were extended to include within its ambit the cases of railways as well.
The investigative powers conferred upon the Department of War were challenged in 1942 before a high court. The judgement led to the promulgation of ordinance number 22 of 1943 which conferred the required legal powers on the department of War. This ordinance lapsed in 1946 and was replaced by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which was brought into force on the 19th of November in 1946.
This new act provided the S.P.E to investigate cases where central government employees were involved in different provinces various provinces all over the country. This Act also led to the transfer of the Superintendence to the Ministry of Home Affairs and its powers were further extended to cover all the Departments of the Government under the ambit of its investigatory Jurisdiction.
The final transformation of the Special Police Establishment to the Central Bureau of Investigation happened on the first of April 1963, under the tutelage of D. P. Kohli who became the founding director of the organisation and was late awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1967 for his distinguished services in the field of law and order.
Structure Of The CBI
Since CBI Constitution, the Delhi Special Police Establishment was converted into one of the branches of the CBI and came to be known as ‘Investigation and Anti-Corruption’ division.
The DSPE, at that time, had over 14 branches across the country, each headed by a Superintendent of Police. There were also two other branches called the Central Investigating Agency (CIA) and the Fraud Squad. Though both of these branches had its offices in Delhi, their jurisdiction stretched all across the territory of our country.
The Central Investigating Agency was in charge of collecting critical information about cases of bribery and corruption. This squad was generally called in for intricate cases which involved complexities that required specialized knowledge and skill.
The Fraud Squad mainly deals with cases of cheating, fraud and such which involved government officials. Later, its jurisdiction was expanded to include investigating serious offences under the Companies Act, 1956, which involved Joint Stock Companies.
Presently, the following are the part of CBI Constitution, that take care of the different offences that the CBI currently investigates:
- Anti-Corruption Division: This division is responsible for the collection of information which regards to cases of bribery and corruption, and tasks related to preventive aspects of corruptions. They investigate cases against public servants under the control of the Central Government and cases against public servants working under state authorities who come under the jurisdiction of the CBI.
- Special Crimes Division: This division of the CBI investigates cases relating to a wide variety of crimes and offences like murders, kidnappings, rapes, cheating and so on, which are committed by organised criminal families and gangs, who pose a major threat to the public tranquillity and safety. CBI also undertakes investigation and prosecution of other IPC offences as well as offences under local and special laws notified under the DSPE Act.
- Economic Offences Division: This part of the CBI was instituted on the 29th of April, 1963. It deals with various economy-related offences as mentioned in section 3 of the DSPE Act. These offences include acts like serious frauds in Banks, Stock Exchanges, Joint Stock companies, Public Limited Companies and so on.
- Directorate of Prosecution: This division deals with the legal actions on people who have been arrested by the other divisions. Its functions include conducting and supervising the cases pending trial, appeal and revision in courts.
- Policy and Coordination Division: The Policy Division deals with all those matters which involve policy, procedure, organization, vigilance and security. Other important tasks include correspondence with ministries, publicity and the implementation of special programmes regarding vigilance and security in the CBI.
- Central Forensic laboratory: This division includes a forensic Science laboratory to help out with investigations being conducted by both, the police and the officers of the CBI.
Nowadays, all these different branches of the CBI are housed in a multi-story headquarters situated in the state of Delhi. The CBI is headed by a director, who has to be an IPS officer with a rank of D.G.P. (Director General of Police).
The director is selected by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India as per the provisions of the CVC Act of 2003. The director so selected has a term of two years. Other important ranks in the CBI includes the Special Director, Additional Director, Joint Director, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Senior Superintendant of Police and so on. All of the abovementioned officers are recruited through SSC or through deputation from the police and Income Tax Department.
Legal Powers And Jurisdiction In CBI Constitution
The legal powers and the jurisdiction mentioned in CBI Constitution are to investigate various cases flows from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
The provisions of the Act not only talk about the power and the jurisdiction of the authority but also enumerate the duties, privileges and liabilities that can be conferred by the officers working under the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Section 3 of the DSPE Act confers upon the CBIs concurrent and co-extensive powers to carry out the investigation of the offences mentioned under the same section. Furthermore, the Central Government has the power to extend the jurisdiction of the CBI to any area, except union territories, that falls within the geographical boundaries of our country, subject to the consent of the state so concerned (Section 6 of the DSPE Act).
Apart from this, all the officers of the CBI who hold the rank of Sub-Inspector and above can exercise, in the relevant territories, all those powers which can be exercised by the officer in charge of the police station in those areas.
However, these powers are subject to conditions imposed by the Central and State Governments. Therefore, any officer of the CBI, who holds the position of Sub-inspector or more, has the same powers, duties and functions in relation to the investigation of offences and arrests as those of the local police under the CrPC, 1973.
An additional power conferred in the CBI Constitution is that CBI can correspond with and demand information from any Ministry or Department of the central or State Government. The information so asked for has to be provided to the CBI even though there is no such statutory provision providing the CBI with such powers.
The officers of the CBI also have the added power of being exempt from the provisions of the Right to Information Act of 2005 as per a notification of the Central Government dated June 9th, 2011
CBI’s Relation With The Police Authorities
The relation between the CBI and the state police is a supplementary and complimentary one. There are various functions and spheres of duties where the CBI and the Police require close cooperation and mutual assistance for achieving success.
One such situation is where the accusation or allegation regard Central Government employees. In such cases, the investigation has to be held by the CBI as per Section 3 of the DSPE Act, even if there are employees of the state government involved.
The State authorities, when informed of such investigation regarding their employees, are supposed to any assistance and full cooperation as might be required by the investigators. Similarly, in cases which are essentially against a state government irrespective of the involvement of federal employees the case is to be investigated by the state authorities.
In such cases, the CBI is to provide full assistance to the state authorities, as per CBI Constitution, in regards to any information they might have on such issues.
Apart from the cases involving the federal Government or its employees, the CBI also has the power under CBI Constitution to take over any case which includes any of the following elements:
- Offences against the central government employees, or concerning affairs of the central government and employees of central public-sector undertakings and public-sector banks,
- Cases involving the financial interests of the central government,
- Breaches of central laws enforceable by the Government of India,
- Major fraud or embezzlement,
- multi-state organised crime,
- Multi-agency or international cases.
Even though the above classification of cases falling under the CBI’s Jurisdiction is a generally accepted arrangement, it might not be possible for the CBI to investigate all these cases in a judicious manner.
Due to its limited resources and the complex nature of the cases that are investigated by the CBI, it has now become a matter of discretion as to whether a particular case is to be handled by the CBI or by the State Authorities even if the matter is listed in Section 3 of the DSPE Act.
It is also a general practice to allow the state police or anti-corruption authorities to take necessary action in cases involving central employees, given that the action so taken has to be taken immediately and there is no time to contact the Superintendent of the concerned branch in the CBI.
Such action can also be taken in cases where delay in action might lead to mass destruction of property or would pose a threat to public safety and tranquility.
Thus, it is clear that the services of the CBI- as mentioned under CBI Constitution are available to the state authorities in taking up or in helping with the investigation that they might have information about.
On the other hand, the state authorities also supplement the efforts of the CBI investigators by providing them with full access and with any other assistance as may be demanded by the ongoing investigation.
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