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Central Investigative Agencies of India

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the principal investigative police agency in India. It was established in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment, entrusted with domestic security.
  • It is an elite force which plays an indispensable role in public life and guaranteeing the health of the national economy.
  • It is functioning under the Ministry of Personnel, Pension and Public Grievances the nodal police agency in India that coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol Member countries. It is also occupied in the compilation of criminal intelligence pertaining to three of its main areas of operation- Anti-Corruption, Economic Crimes, and Special Crimes.
  • It may inspect:
    • The cases that are fundamentally against Central Government employees or concerning undertakings of the Central Government
    • The cases in which the monetary interests of the Central Government are included.
    • The instances of deception, fraud, cheating, and misappropriation relating to companies in which huge funds are included and comparable different situations when carried out by organized gangs or expert lawbreakers have ramifications in a few States.
    • The cases have interstate and international consequences and include a few official agencies.
    • The cases relating to the ruptures of Central Laws with the enforcement of which the Government of India is mainly concerned.
  • It is an extra-constitutional and non-statutory body. It derives power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, of 1946.
  • 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.
  • Superintendence of CBI: For crimes related to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the superintendence of CBI lies with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and in other matters with the Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) in the Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Grievances of the Government of India.

National Investigating Agency (NIA)

  • The NIA was created by an Act of the Parliament of India on December 31, 2008, following the Mumbai Terror Attack of November 2008.
  • It is an investigation agency at the national level to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States and offences under Acts enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto for investigation and prosecution of offences affecting sovereignty, security and integrity of India.
  • NIA plays the role of the national counter-terrorism law enforcement agency. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
  • The agency is empowered to deal with terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
  • The NIA was established in a concurrent jurisdiction framework, with provisions for taking up specific cases under specific Acts for investigation and prosecution [Section 3(1)].
  • In other words, it was “not an Agency to deal with offences under all the laws”, but “with only eight laws”:
    • The Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962);
    • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967);
    • The Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 (65 of 1982);
    • The Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982 (66 of 1982);
    • The SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1993 (36 of 1993);
    • The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 (69 of 2002);
    • The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005 (21 of 2005);
    • Offences under:
      • (a) Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) [sections 121 to 130 (both inclusive)];
      • (b) Sections 489-A to 489-E (both inclusive) of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Intelligence Bureau (IB)

  • India’s intelligence Bureau of investigation is a reputed and established intelligence agency.
  • The intelligence bureau is authoritatively controlled by the Ministry of Home affairs.
  • The Director IB (DIB), who is a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), is the chief of the Intelligence Bureau.
  • It is considered the internal news agency responsible for monitoring all aspects of governance. It is entrusted with counter-intelligence terrorism.
  • Intelligence Bureau closely monitors developments relating to parliamentary undertakings and reports back to the cabinet secretariat.
  • The Special Enquiry and Surveillance Unit (SES) of the intelligence bureau handle most of this work.
  • The IB, created by executive order, has no legal powers to investigate. It is primarily concerned with the analysis of information.

Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW)

  • RAW, which stands for Research and Analysis Wing of India, mainly deals with external intelligence.
    The RAW was formed in 1968.
  • It was after the Indo-Pak war and the Sino-Indian war that the country felt the need for an external intelligence agency, which led to the formation of RAW.
  • The research and Analysis Wing of India is directly under the Prime Minister’s office.
  • Major Duties:
    1. Tactical intelligence is on a day-to-day basis.
    2. Strategic intelligence, for assessment of future possibilities, provides the Government to get insight into various contingencies and enables necessary action.
  • The Chief of the RAW is entitled as Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat. It is only answerable to the Prime Minister and the Joint Intelligence Committee.  
  • It is not liable to the parliament of India on any issues and the same provision keeps it out of reach of the Right to Information (RTI) act.
  • It monitors the political and military development in the neighbouring countries, which have a direct bearing on India’s national security and the genesis of its foreign policy.

Director of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)

  • The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is an Indian intelligence agency It was constituted on 4th December 1957.
  • It mainly deals with the collection and study of information on smuggling activities and the deployment of all anti-smuggling resources at the all-India level. Though its early days were committed to combating the smuggling of gold, it now also addresses narcotics and economic crimes.
  • It also trains Investigation officers of the Custom Houses and Central Excise Collectorates deployed on similar work.
  • The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence functions under the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue.
  • It enforces the prohibition of smuggling of drugs, gold, diamonds, electronic gadgets, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian currency, etc.

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, of 1985 which came into effect on the 14th of November 1985 made an express provision for constituting a Central Authority for the purpose of exercising the powers and functions of the Central Government under the Act.
  • In presence of this provision, the Government of India constituted the Narcotics Control Bureau on the 17th of March, 1986.
  • The Bureau, subject to the supervision and control of the Central Government, is to exercise the powers and functions of the Central Government for taking measures with respect to:
    • Coordination of actions by various offices, State Governments and other authorities under the N.D.P.S. Act, Customs Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act and any other law for the time being in force in connection with the enforcement provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.
    • Implementation of the obligation in respect of countermeasures against illicit traffic under the various international conventions and protocols that are in force at present or which may be ratified or acceded to by India in future.
    • Assistance to concerned authorities in foreign countries and concerned international organisations to facilitate coordination and universal action for prevention and suppression of illicit traffic in these drugs and substances.
    • Coordination of actions taken by the other concerned Ministries, Departments and Organizations in respect of matters relating to drug abuse.
  • As indicated in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, it guides the State to endeavour to bring about the exclusion of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs harmful to well-being.
  • The Director-General of NCB is an officer of the Indian Police Service or the Indian Revenue Service. Headquarters is located in Delhi.

Bureau of Police Research and Investigation (BPR&D)

  • The Government of India on 28th, August 1970 formally established the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), under the Ministry of Home Affairs giving a new orientation to the existing Police Research and Advisory Council (1966) for the following reasons and with the primary objective of modernization of police force:
    1. to take a direct and active interest in the issues
    2. to promote a speedy and systematic study of the police problems,
    3. to apply science and technology in the methods and techniques used by police.
  • The Bureau was established with the following two divisions initially with a well-laid-out charter of duties:
    1. Research, Statistics and Publication
    2. Development.
  • It has also organized training programs for Prison Officers on various subjects like Human rights in Prison management, personality development etc.

National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)

  • NCRB was set up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
  • It was set up based on the recommendations of the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Taskforce (1985), by merging the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), Inter State Criminals Data Branch of CBI, Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI, and Statistical Branch of BPR&D.
  • National Crime Record Bureau is to empower Indian Police with Information Technology to allow them to efficiently enforce the law and perk up public service delivery. It is responsible for collecting and dissecting crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • Duties
    • To collect, compile, analyze and publish and store the National Crime Statistics
    • To provide training in Finger Print Science and IT for capacity building in Police Forces
    • To compile, create and maintain secure sharable National Databases on crimes
    • To interact with Foreign Police Forces and Intelligence agencies to share IT practices and crime information.
  • In August 2017 NCRB has merged with BRP&D. Ten months after, the Centre overturned its decision and de-merged the two. It also referred the matter to the Madhukar Gupta Committee for examination and advice on the merger of the above two organisations.

National Technical Research Organization (NTRO)

  • National Technical Research Organisation was established as a Premier scientific organization post-Kargil period when the NDA Government set up a Girish Chandra Saxena task force to suggest measures to revamp of India’s intelligence apparatus. Its main aim is to enhance the technical intelligence capabilities of our agencies, both defence and civil.
  • It is a premier scientific agency under the National Security Adviser.
  • It was set up in 2004.
  • The Union Home Ministry last year listed the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) under The Intelligence Organizations (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1985.

Multi-Agency Centre (MAC)

  • In 2001, to improve the efficiency of the Intelligence Network, the Intelligence Task Force recommended the establishment of a Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) for counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence.
  • It was revamped after the 26/11 attacks on 31 December 2008. Through an Executive Order MAC and subsidiary-MAC (in each state capital) were established. Their main duty is to gather information or intelligence and the analysis is shared with each participating agency.

National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)

  • NATGRID is an integrated intelligence grid connecting databases of all relevant security agencies to collect and compile comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be quickly accessed by intelligence agencies.
  • NATGRID was envisaged after Mumbai 26/11 attack. Its main aim is to mitigate the deficiency of real-time information, which was considered one of the biggest loop holes to detect the movement of conspirators before 26/11.
  • It will utilize technologies latest technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyze the enormous amount of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.
  • These data can be accessed by central agencies, including RAW, Intelligence Bureau, CBI, etc.
  • The office of NATGRID is attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs. It faced opposition on charges of possible infringement of privacy and spillage of confidential individual data.

National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC)

  • In 2012, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had given the approval to set up the National Counter-Terrorism Center. It is proposed on the base of the anti-terrorism unit set up in the National counter-terrorism centre of the USA.
  • The chief of the National Counter-Terrorism Center will be a Director who will be reporting to the Director Intelligence Bureau and the Home Secretary.
  • It will draw its powers from the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967. It will set up small offices crosswise over states to gather real-time information.
  • It additionally has the ability to look for data, including archives, reports and digital data from any security agency and organization. They can conduct raids without the prior consent of the respective states.
  • The suggestion has met with criticism from the Chief Ministers of different states as they see this as the means of deteriorating India’s federalism and centre-state relations.
  • The office of NCTC is not yet established in India because the states objected to NCTC on grounds of being “anti-federal and an encroachment upon the state’s “law and order” domain.


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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

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