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CBI started its life as a sapling meant to investigate allegations of corruption in supplies and procurement during world war II in 1939. It has proved its mettle time and again and in an almost meteoric rise, has become one of the most premiere investigative agencies of the country. The sapling has become a tree in its own right and even has its own branches.
CBI has stretched its limbs and now it covers almost every aspect/mode of crime except a few specialized ones. For example, It was CBI which investigated the cases of terrorism like 1993 Mumbai blasts but after 26/11 Mumbai attacks, a separate investigative agency, NIA was formed with the express purpose of investigation in terrorism cases.
The main forte of CBI is still the corruption cases. All other branches are mere extensions of its investigative ability. An overview of different branches of CBI (from the viewpoint of a sub-Inspector) is as follows:
Special Crime Branch (SCB): This branch of CBI deals with the crimes of heinous nature for e.g. Murder, Culpable homicide, Rape, Robbery etc. This branch has the most number of tours and the sub-inspector may have to be on tour for up to 2 months at a stretch. This also means time away from family and a disturbed family life. While this lifestyle is glorious and adventurous at first, the negatives creep up on the candidate gradually. As the wheel of time rolls on, it appears like an exercise in futile. I have seen a number of cases where an official had just come his home from a lengthy tour and he was promptly ordered over the phone to go someplace else in connection with some other case. The SIs posted in this branch are advised to always be ready with a packed bag of clothes and essentials.
The tours are financed by the government and railway passes are given to the employees. CBI also has an HQ quota entitlement in railways and generally, the seat is reserved for its employees. A sub-Inspector is entitled to 2nd AC pass along with the Inspector. DySPs and above are entitled to Airplane journey on the authorization of SP.
Working of this branch demands coordination of the officials with the local police. This branch has most tedious working among all the branches of CBI. This is suitable if you are a bachelor or live away from your family. The upside of being in this branch is that you will get to visit several places, for free. If you have a tourist streak within you, this branch is a treasure trove.
Economic Offences Wing (EOW):
As the name suggests, this branch deals with the cases where mass scale irregularities in the procedures have caused the loss to the government economically, for e.g. cases like NRHM case, 2G Scam, Coal scam, bank loan frauds etc. It is mostly an office job with the occasional visits to the other stations. In addition, the sub-inspector may also have to go for verification in the field. There are many units in these branches.
- Bank fraud cases
- Fake Currency Notes
- Wildlife and poaching cases
I think all these are self-explanatory and need no explanation.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB): This is one of the most powerful branches of CBI. In essence, ACB is the crux of CBI. As has been told earlier, Central Bureau of Investigation was formed primarily for the investigation of corruption cases during world war-II. ACB is the pillar on which the structure of entire CBI stands tall. It works mainly by trapping the corrupt public officials. What happens in a Trap case, read here?
It is quite an adventurous job. In a trap case, when a corrupt official is trapped red-handed, the job becomes rewarding in its own way.
The jurisdiction of ACB Delhi is in New Delhi Union territory itself. ACB is the only branch which has a local jurisdiction over all the central government offices. In Delhi, ACB is the queen. In 2015, when a raid was conducted on an aide of Delhi CM Sh. Arvind Kejriwal, It was ACB which conducted the raid. ACBs are heavily overloaded with work and sub-Inspector is the one who does most of the field work. If you are in ACB, It’d do you good if you have a bike with you. Why you must have a 2 wheeler with you, in CBI. Read here.
Cyber Crime Branch:
As the name suggests, this branch deals with the cases of cyber-crime like phishing, hacking, forgery over a network and data stealing. But do not get too carried over by the name, you will do just fine if you are not well versed in the computer terminology. In fact, the basic working of the CBI does not change a bit and most of the work of handling the digital evidence is done by the forensic experts.
An SI in this branch is tasked with the recording of the statements of the accused, maintain the case dairy, preparing search and seizure memos and occasional verifications. In addition to this, an SI is tasked with pairavi of the cases. Pairavi means assisting the law officer (read: advocate) in the prosecution of old cases. The work in this branch is not very different from the work in other branches.
Bank fraud and security cell (BF & SC): As the name suggests, this branch deals with large-scale bank fraud cases some of which range up to the tune of Rs. 6,000/- crores. It has lots and lots of documentation and you have to track the funds from the myriad statement of accounts. In addition, an SI may have to visit several bank branches from where the tainted money has been siphoned off. It is sub-inspector who collects various vouchers, cheques used by the accused persons and make a seizure memo of the same. It is a very challenging job and focus is the key to excel in this branch. Work is hectic and hours are long. Familiarity with banking terminology will help candidates wade through the quagmire.
Anti-corruption Branch (This is different from Anti-Corruption Bureau)
This branch investigates the cases of corruption emanating from the irregularities in the government policies. The cases involving the wrong award of the contract, conflict of interest, corruption in public sector units (PSUs), corruption in the arms deal etc are dealt with in this branch.
Special Unit (SU)
This branch is the black sheep of CBI. This is the branch which is tasked with the tapping of the phone calls, secret surveillance, gathering of intelligence (Intelligence= secret information) and vigilance. This branch also acts towards the collection of sensitive actionable information, feeding the information during the live busting operations; for example, raid on the dealers of fake currency notes.
This branch is all about secrets and is the epitome of the image people generally associate with RAW/IB/CBI. In fact, this branch is so special that I have done a separate article on it. Read it here Special Unit (SU): The black sheep of CBI?
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Also read our 3 part series on CBI training: