What are the work and the duties assigned to a sub-Inspector in CBI?

A sub-inspector is the building block of CBI. He is the first step in the ladder of Investigating Officers (IOs). It is he who is tasked with handling the documentary work and evidences. Although the body of the work assigned to a Sub-Inspector differs from branch to branch, there is an undercurrent of similarity in the work.

Here is an overview of the most common type of work assigned to a sub-inspector in CBI.

Pairavi Work: When the case has been investigated and charge-sheet has been filed in the court, the case goes in trial. It is the trials that drag on for years in the courts. During the trials, the Law officers/Public prosecutors (Read: Advocates of CBI) are to be assisted in prosecution by the pairavi officer. A pairavi officer may have to do the following:

  1. Calling a witness to appear before the court
  2. To search and produce a specific document/evidence from the record
  3. To get summons issued in the name of the witnesses if they are unwilling to appear before the court
  4. Communicating any opinion of the branch head on any court order/decree
  5. Execution of any other order of the court.
  6. Making and submitting the replies against any appeals filed by the defendant.
  7. Affecting arrest on a non-bailable warrant (NBW).

    Pairavi work in CBI is done by a sub-inspector.

Every officer of CBI, from Sub-Inspector to DySP is assigned pairavi cases where he has to be actively involved. The number of cases assigned can range from 20 to 130. Of course the real numbers may be more or less by a few but these two extremes are my own observation of reality. However, don’t fret, not all of these cases are active. Some of these cases lie dormant for years but some are as active as a volcano. If a case is in high court or in Supreme Court, it may keep you on your toes. Every reply/appeal that is to be filed in the High court/Supreme Court goes upto the level of Special director and sometimes even to the level of CBI director. If you are the pairavi officer of such a case, you are expected to learn all the facts relevent to it.

Arrest: The technical term for arrest is “execution of Non Bailable Warrant (NBW)”. The NBW is issued by the court when an accused does not appear before the court on repeated summons or if the court or the IO has a reason to believe that the accused may abscond or leave the country.

arrest in CBI
In CBI, arrest is done by an SI

When an NBW is assigned to a sub-inspector, he is expected to keep it a secret affair. Ideally, he should not even disclose it to his/her senior officials. A day before the actual execution, he has to apply for the issuance of a vehicle and 2 constables for the same. Arrests in CBI are generally affected in the morning before 6 AM so as to catch the accused unawares.

If you want to arrest someone before 6 AM, you have to be ready at about 5 AM which means you will stay in the office that night. Although it is not an explicit instruction or the guideline in CBI, It makes sense to stay in the office so that you don’t have to rush to the office in the morning. Mind you, you should not disclose the target even to the constables. You solely are responsible if any of the official or constable botches up your NBW execution. Its another true fact that CBI doesn’t tolerate mistakes.

After the arrest, the accused is presented before the court and a report is to be submitted in the branch. If you are successful in affecting the arrest, a senior official may recommend your name for award. If the signing authority deems it fit, you are rewarded financially for your hard work.

Seizure memo: Whenever any document or any evidence relevant to the case is to be collected/seized from anywhere be it the banks, other government offices, local police stations or from the crime spot, a seizure memo is to be prepared in which the details of the items which are being seized is recorded. The seizure memo is generally prepared by a sub-inspector and sometimes by an Inspector. By law, a CBI sub inspector is not authorized to conduct an independent investigation and hence he does not have signing authority, the Inspector or the DySP signs the seizure memo.

A sub-inspector may investigate a case independently only after taking due permission from the court. He then becomes an independent IO (Investigating Officer) of the case.

Search memo: In laymen terms, the Search is known as Raid.

Whenever there is a search operation, a search memo is prepared in which all the proceedings of the search are detailed. These details start from the very beginning of the search till the time of completion of the operation. A CBI search is always conducted in presence of two independent witnesses, preferably government servants to maintain transparency. This search memo is generally dictated by an Inspector or DySP and written down by a sub-inspector. CBI searches may last up to 24 hours or even longer than that. So be prepared mentally to toil for occasional such long periods.

Enclosed with a search memo is a seizure memo which has the details of the items/documents gathered and seized during search. The seizure memo has already been explained in the above point.

Field verification:

Sometimes, the addresses of the accused persons/witnesses are found nonexistent/forged/fake. When the letters/notices/summons sent to these persons return without any reply, it implies that either the address was fake/non-existent or the person has relocated to someplace else. In such cases, it is the duty of the sub-inspector to verify and report whether the address is genuine. He is also expected to trace out the absconders or his/her relatives. This is just one type of field enquiry.

Verification is done by an SI.

If you are in Anti-corruption branch, as an SI, you will have to verify whether the complaints filed by a complainant is true and genuine. It is also imperative to enquire whether the complaint has been filed out of spite and personal enmity. No complaint which lacks true intention of corruption on the part of the accused is entertained in CBI. It is the duty of the Sub-Inspector to verify whether the complaint is genuine or not.

Furthermore, for verification of the complaint, a sub-inspector may have to install a tiny electronic camera in his shirt buttons or collars and a bugging device (listening device) on his person. The highest level of self-confidence and presence of mind is needed to verify such complaints without arousing suspicion or revealing one’s own identity. Any action is taken by CBI only after it is confirmed that the complaint is true and genuine and free from any mala-fide intentions on the part of the complainant.

Sometimes, during the investigation a document may come up which appears forged orwhere signature of some other person have been forged by the accused. These documents are needed to be verified from the source. The source being the bank branch, if the document pertains to the bank or the registrar office if it is a stamp paper. These are only 2 examples, the actual list is long. A sub-inspector may have to verify the genuineness of

  1. Medical reports: (He will visit have to visit the concerned hospital)
  2. Identity cards/Pan Cards/Voter Cards/Aadhaar Cards etc. (He will write a letter to the concerned authority and ask for the copies of the true document.)

And a few more.

Recording the statements:  In CBI, the statement of everybody and anybody associated with the case, i.e. the accused, the witness, the Investigating Officer and the assisting IOs, is recorded. This recording of statement is primarily the task of a sub-Inspector.

statement recording by sub inspector
The statement is recorded by a sub inspector.

When a sub-inspector is in the field for verification of a less important minor point of the case, he can record the statement of the concerned person at the spot using pen and paper. He may even just jot down the important points of the statement and can document those on his computer in the office. Since a statement of the accused or the witness is not needed to be signed, it makes sense to properly structure it and document it in a concise readable format. Since these statements are needed in trials, which may stretch up to 40 years in court, it is imperative that the statements be recorded with clarity and as legibly as possible. Don’t be misled to think that an IO may fudge with a statement of the accused or a witness as it is not signed by them. In court, if the accused or the witness recants or diverges from the statement, the written statement loses its value and oral verbal testimony in front of the judge is accepted by the court.

A sub-inspector hoping to make it big in CBI must have comfortably fast typing speed and fairly good knowledge of written English. Since the working of CBI is in English, Knowing a bit of English will do you tons of good. Generally speaking, all the reports that he will submit are to be submitted in English.

Photocopies: CBI people are paper tigers. And CBI is a department with has lots of documentation. It means that almost every document which you deal with in CBI is to be done in duplicate & sometimes in triplicate. For e.g. when the investigation of a case is in final stage, the photocopies of the each and every document is prepared and given to every accused. Each document means the photocopies of the statements, evidences, bill vouchers, reports gathered from government agencies etc.

If there are 6 accused, the total no. of sets formed will be 10. One for each of the accused, one for the defense counsel, one for the prosecution counsel, one for the court record and one for the record of the CBI Branch.

Needless to say, these photocopies are also done by a sub-inspector. Although you can take the help of the constables but at the end of the day, it is you who are responsible for them.

Preparation of Case Dairies:

Case dairy is a record of the daily progress made by the IO in the investigation of the case. The case diary is to be written on every eventful day. By eventful, I mean a day on which there has been a development in the case.

The case dairy is like a personal assistant to an IO. The more detailed and vividly he writes, more helpful will it be for him at later stages of the trial. Sample this: 10-12 years have passed and you are called in court to identify the accused and give your evidence. What do you do? In these 12 years, you have investigated so many cases that you start forgetting the facts of the older cases. You don’t even recognize the accused persons. This is when the case diary comes to the rescue. By a reading of the case diary, the IO can refresh his memory and give evidence based on that. That’s why it is recommended that you don’t keep your case diaries pending and write them as and when an event is to be recorded.

Case diary is prepared in 2 sets. One for the branch record and one for the court. If a sub inspector is working independently on a case, he need to write a case diary under his own signature. If he is working as an assisting IO, he should write and learn the art of case diary writing. Although the signature in this case can be done only by the chief IO of the case.


Besides the abovementioned duties, an official in CBI is used as and when needed for a particular task. Suppose there is a mass scale search operation (Read: raid) to be conducted in the entire state or in the entire country, CBI will marshal all its strength at a preplanned time and conduct the raid simultaneously. A sub-inspector should be ready for that.

Other than this, for International seminars, CBI events, and major government fucntions; Sub-inspectors, Inspectors and even a few DySPs are needed to work as liaisons officers with the distinct luminaries and to oversee the entire arrangements of their boarding and lodging.

Such is the 360 degree profile of a CBI sub-Inspector. In fact, the nature of work doesn’t change much in the whole life of an IO. From the sub-Inspector to the post of ASP, It is the all about verification and investigation. It is only the importance and the weightage of the case that changes.

This marks the end of our overview of the works assigned to the Sub-Inspector of CBI.

Hello reader,

Good luck for your career. love and best wishes!

Got a doubt? Drop’em in the comments.

Also read

  1. Part 1: Introduction to CBI Training: the best thing that ever happened to me.
  2. Part 2: Syllabus of CBI training: The most magical thing of all.
  3. Part 3: Visits and Practicals in CBI training: Once in a lifetime experience.
  4. Transfers, Locations and Postings in CBI.
  5. What are different branches of CBI and what is the role of Sub-Inspector in each of them.
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