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Overview:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating criminal matters, national security and intelligence. CBI is the Indian government’s version of the United State’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). One of many intelligence agencies in India, CBI has conducted a large part of its operations after tip-offs from individuals. Even though CBI focuses on federal issues, the agency has come under severe criticism for mishandling several scams – illustrating its inadequacy and, in some cases, leniency.

more
History:

The government of British-India established the Special Police Establishment in 1941 to investigate cases of bribery and corruption during World War II. After the war, the government maintained the agency with the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946. This act governs CBI today, authorizing it to investigate cases under its purview. This agency initially probed cases of corruption, but gradually expanded to investigate malfeasance at all levels of the public sector.

 

The agency’s current name was established through a Ministry of Home Affairs resolution in 1963. Its founding director was D.P. Kohli, who served from 1963 to 1968.

 

In latter years, CBI took on the investigation of economic offenses, such as high-profile frauds and conventional crimes. To bolster efficient local jurisdiction, two wings of the CBI were created in 1987: the Anti-Corruption Division and the Special Crimes Division.

 

Prior to Indira Gandhi’s administration, there was little political interference in CBI activities.  But, as former CBI head N.K. Singh explained to the Sunday Guardian in November 2011, CBI was compromised by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who granted director D. Sen two term extensions. Sen’s term, which ran from 1971 to 1976, coincided with the Indian Emergency that ran between June 26, 1975, and March 21, 1977, when Gandhi targeted political rivals, allowed her son, Sanjay, to launch a campaign of mass sterilization, and suspended many civil rights, including those involving elections.

 

In 1977, Singh arrested Indira Gandhi on charges of corruption. She was freed a short time later, and arrested again in 1978, without criminal consequence.

 

Gandhi’s meddling in CBI established a pattern of influencing investigations of corruption cases to either cover up malfeasance or to implicate political opponents, which continued long after her reign as prime minister and her assassination in 1983.

 

Many CBI staffers were told by more senior politicians to water down cases against prominent businessmen and politicians. For example, during the investigation into the Bhopal Gas leak in 1984, former director BR Lall was instructed to avoid seeking the extradition of former CEO Warren Anderson.

 

In the “fodder scam,” in which Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was accused of siphoning off millions of dollars to pay for feed, medicines and supplies for fictitious livestock, CBI staffers were reportedly told to dilute the evidence against Yadav so he would be exonerated. Political pressures eventually forced Yadav to resign from office, though he managed to install his wife, Rabri Devi, as chief minister.

 

In December 2011, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati demanded that the ruling Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance coalition bring CBI under the purview of the Jan Lokpal, an independent ombudsmen with the authority to prosecute official corruption. Mayawati said it was important to make this change in order to stop CBI from being used by politicians to attack their enemies. She countered herself as one such example, saying Congress Party members had instructed CBI to target her for investigation.

more
What it Does:

Three special directors oversee CBI’s regional offices whose jurisdictions are organized geographically.

 

If a state government makes a request for CBI to take over a criminal case, the agency can assume responsibility for the investigation after gaining approval from the central government. Additionally, under section 5 and 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, CBI can take charge of a case if the state or central government issues a notification of consent. The Supreme Court of India or High Courts can also order CBI to take up investigations.

 

CBI also serves as the official Interpol unit for India.

 

 Being the apex investigating police agency, it probes a case when requested by Interpol or its member countries. It is a de facto participant in all major investigations in the country.

 

CBI has to ask the government for permission to initiate investigations and prosecutions. Since it operates under the control of the central government, CBI has allegedly been misused for political purposes by the government and parties. The CBI motto – Industry, Impartiality, Integrity – has been derided due to an array of controversies stemming from CBI’s past investigations. 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The most recent budget for CBI, announced in March for 2013-2014, was about Rs. 395.77 crore ($73.22 million USD), an increase of approximately 15% over the previous fiscal year’s total of Rs. 344.64 crore ($63.76 million USD)

 

The majority of the budget goes into investigations and prosecutions of both public and private sector persons and companies suspected of corruption and financial malfeasance.

 

Secondary spending is directed towards strengthening infrastructure, updating online capabilities, building housing and offices and improving technology and forensic sciences to aid investigations.

 

more
Controversies:

Political Interference in Investigations

A series of letters made public by former joint director BR Lall in his book Who Owns CBI: The Naked Truth revealed the corruption plaguing India’s premier agency’s investigative process. Among the most trenchant problems was the constant political interference. Rather than using these revelations to improve transparency, they led to the exemption of CBI from the Right To Information Act.

 

As Lall explained in his book, he was asked to be lenient on extraditing the Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson for the Bhopal chemical disaster. He was never extradited to be held accountable for the 1984 explosion that killed between 8,000 and 30,000 people, making it one of the greatest commercial disasters to date.

 

CBI exempted from RTI Act (by Neeraj Chauhan, Times of India)
Was told to go soft on Warren Anderson: Former CBI official (by NDTV correspondent, NDTV)

 

Bofors: Politicians, Artillery and Money

In this long running scandal, which began in the late 1980s, investigators accused then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others of receiving bribes from Bofors AB, a Swedish arms manufacturer, in exchange for awarding them an artillery contract. CBI accused several Indian politicians including Gandhi, an Italian businessman named Ottavio Quattrocchi, and Bofors AB of illegal activities.

 

The case is still ongoing. Many of the initial charges were dropped, and some of those charged have passed away. This scandal is an example of the inefficiency of CBI. It was revealed through the investigative journalism of Chitra Subramaniam and N. Ram. CBI most recently rejected Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s request to re-examine Sonia Gandhi’s role in the scandal, saying the matter had been fully investigated.

 

Chronology of the Bofors Scandal (by IANS, DNA India)

Sonia's Involvement in Bofors Scandal along with Rajiv? (One India News)

 

more
Suggested Reforms:

Reform the CBI

The appointment procedure and the tenure track of the director of the CBI have faced constant scrutiny, especially when compared with America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation. One structural reform that has been debated is the establishment of a Lok Sabha CBI oversight committee to appoint the director and look into the CBI’s administration and budget.

 

B. Raman, a cabinet secretariat and former head of the counterterrorism division of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, has advocated for structural reform within CBI. 

 

How to Reverse the Politicization of the CBI (by B Raman, South Asia Analysis Group)  

 

more
Former Directors:

Amar Pratap Singh

Amar Pratap Singh was appointed director of CBI in November 2010. He served two years, until November 2012.

 

Singh graduated from St Stephens College at Delhi University. He is 1974 batch IPS officer from Jharkhand cadre.

 

He previously held the post of Additional Director of the Border Security Force and has been honored with the Indian Police Medal and President's Police Medal.  

 

Singh ran into controversy in February 2012 when he said publicly what many Indians (and citizens of other countries) have long known. “India, in particular, has suffered from the flow of illegal funds to tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, the British Virgin Islands, etc. It is estimated that around 500 billion dollars of illegal money belonging to Indians is deposited in tax havens abroad. The largest depositors in Swiss banks are also reported to be Indians.” He also estimated the amount of money parked abroad was around $500 billion (around Rs 25 lakh crore), about a third of India's GDP.

 

The Swiss embassy took offence to the comment, saying it was “uncorroborated.” The statement further said that Switzerland was “not a tax haven.” 

 

Amar Pratap Singh Appointed New CBI Director (India Today)

more

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Founded: April 1, 1963
Annual Budget: Rs 395.77 crore ($73.22 million USD)
Employees: 5,000
Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Latest News
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating criminal matters, national security and intelligence. CBI is the Indian government’s version of the United State’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). One of many intelligence agencies in India, CBI has conducted a large part of its operations after tip-offs from individuals. Even though CBI focuses on federal issues, the agency has come under severe criticism for mishandling several scams – illustrating its inadequacy and, in some cases, leniency.

more
History:

The government of British-India established the Special Police Establishment in 1941 to investigate cases of bribery and corruption during World War II. After the war, the government maintained the agency with the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946. This act governs CBI today, authorizing it to investigate cases under its purview. This agency initially probed cases of corruption, but gradually expanded to investigate malfeasance at all levels of the public sector.

 

The agency’s current name was established through a Ministry of Home Affairs resolution in 1963. Its founding director was D.P. Kohli, who served from 1963 to 1968.

 

In latter years, CBI took on the investigation of economic offenses, such as high-profile frauds and conventional crimes. To bolster efficient local jurisdiction, two wings of the CBI were created in 1987: the Anti-Corruption Division and the Special Crimes Division.

 

Prior to Indira Gandhi’s administration, there was little political interference in CBI activities.  But, as former CBI head N.K. Singh explained to the Sunday Guardian in November 2011, CBI was compromised by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who granted director D. Sen two term extensions. Sen’s term, which ran from 1971 to 1976, coincided with the Indian Emergency that ran between June 26, 1975, and March 21, 1977, when Gandhi targeted political rivals, allowed her son, Sanjay, to launch a campaign of mass sterilization, and suspended many civil rights, including those involving elections.

 

In 1977, Singh arrested Indira Gandhi on charges of corruption. She was freed a short time later, and arrested again in 1978, without criminal consequence.

 

Gandhi’s meddling in CBI established a pattern of influencing investigations of corruption cases to either cover up malfeasance or to implicate political opponents, which continued long after her reign as prime minister and her assassination in 1983.

 

Many CBI staffers were told by more senior politicians to water down cases against prominent businessmen and politicians. For example, during the investigation into the Bhopal Gas leak in 1984, former director BR Lall was instructed to avoid seeking the extradition of former CEO Warren Anderson.

 

In the “fodder scam,” in which Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was accused of siphoning off millions of dollars to pay for feed, medicines and supplies for fictitious livestock, CBI staffers were reportedly told to dilute the evidence against Yadav so he would be exonerated. Political pressures eventually forced Yadav to resign from office, though he managed to install his wife, Rabri Devi, as chief minister.

 

In December 2011, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati demanded that the ruling Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance coalition bring CBI under the purview of the Jan Lokpal, an independent ombudsmen with the authority to prosecute official corruption. Mayawati said it was important to make this change in order to stop CBI from being used by politicians to attack their enemies. She countered herself as one such example, saying Congress Party members had instructed CBI to target her for investigation.

more
What it Does:

Three special directors oversee CBI’s regional offices whose jurisdictions are organized geographically.

 

If a state government makes a request for CBI to take over a criminal case, the agency can assume responsibility for the investigation after gaining approval from the central government. Additionally, under section 5 and 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, CBI can take charge of a case if the state or central government issues a notification of consent. The Supreme Court of India or High Courts can also order CBI to take up investigations.

 

CBI also serves as the official Interpol unit for India.

 

 Being the apex investigating police agency, it probes a case when requested by Interpol or its member countries. It is a de facto participant in all major investigations in the country.

 

CBI has to ask the government for permission to initiate investigations and prosecutions. Since it operates under the control of the central government, CBI has allegedly been misused for political purposes by the government and parties. The CBI motto – Industry, Impartiality, Integrity – has been derided due to an array of controversies stemming from CBI’s past investigations. 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The most recent budget for CBI, announced in March for 2013-2014, was about Rs. 395.77 crore ($73.22 million USD), an increase of approximately 15% over the previous fiscal year’s total of Rs. 344.64 crore ($63.76 million USD)

 

The majority of the budget goes into investigations and prosecutions of both public and private sector persons and companies suspected of corruption and financial malfeasance.

 

Secondary spending is directed towards strengthening infrastructure, updating online capabilities, building housing and offices and improving technology and forensic sciences to aid investigations.

 

more
Controversies:

Political Interference in Investigations

A series of letters made public by former joint director BR Lall in his book Who Owns CBI: The Naked Truth revealed the corruption plaguing India’s premier agency’s investigative process. Among the most trenchant problems was the constant political interference. Rather than using these revelations to improve transparency, they led to the exemption of CBI from the Right To Information Act.

 

As Lall explained in his book, he was asked to be lenient on extraditing the Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson for the Bhopal chemical disaster. He was never extradited to be held accountable for the 1984 explosion that killed between 8,000 and 30,000 people, making it one of the greatest commercial disasters to date.

 

CBI exempted from RTI Act (by Neeraj Chauhan, Times of India)
Was told to go soft on Warren Anderson: Former CBI official (by NDTV correspondent, NDTV)

 

Bofors: Politicians, Artillery and Money

In this long running scandal, which began in the late 1980s, investigators accused then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others of receiving bribes from Bofors AB, a Swedish arms manufacturer, in exchange for awarding them an artillery contract. CBI accused several Indian politicians including Gandhi, an Italian businessman named Ottavio Quattrocchi, and Bofors AB of illegal activities.

 

The case is still ongoing. Many of the initial charges were dropped, and some of those charged have passed away. This scandal is an example of the inefficiency of CBI. It was revealed through the investigative journalism of Chitra Subramaniam and N. Ram. CBI most recently rejected Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s request to re-examine Sonia Gandhi’s role in the scandal, saying the matter had been fully investigated.

 

Chronology of the Bofors Scandal (by IANS, DNA India)

Sonia's Involvement in Bofors Scandal along with Rajiv? (One India News)

 

more
Suggested Reforms:

Reform the CBI

The appointment procedure and the tenure track of the director of the CBI have faced constant scrutiny, especially when compared with America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation. One structural reform that has been debated is the establishment of a Lok Sabha CBI oversight committee to appoint the director and look into the CBI’s administration and budget.

 

B. Raman, a cabinet secretariat and former head of the counterterrorism division of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, has advocated for structural reform within CBI. 

 

How to Reverse the Politicization of the CBI (by B Raman, South Asia Analysis Group)  

 

more
Former Directors:

Amar Pratap Singh

Amar Pratap Singh was appointed director of CBI in November 2010. He served two years, until November 2012.

 

Singh graduated from St Stephens College at Delhi University. He is 1974 batch IPS officer from Jharkhand cadre.

 

He previously held the post of Additional Director of the Border Security Force and has been honored with the Indian Police Medal and President's Police Medal.  

 

Singh ran into controversy in February 2012 when he said publicly what many Indians (and citizens of other countries) have long known. “India, in particular, has suffered from the flow of illegal funds to tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, the British Virgin Islands, etc. It is estimated that around 500 billion dollars of illegal money belonging to Indians is deposited in tax havens abroad. The largest depositors in Swiss banks are also reported to be Indians.” He also estimated the amount of money parked abroad was around $500 billion (around Rs 25 lakh crore), about a third of India's GDP.

 

The Swiss embassy took offence to the comment, saying it was “uncorroborated.” The statement further said that Switzerland was “not a tax haven.” 

 

Amar Pratap Singh Appointed New CBI Director (India Today)

more

Comments

Leave a comment

Founded: April 1, 1963
Annual Budget: Rs 395.77 crore ($73.22 million USD)
Employees: 5,000
Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Latest News