In this era of globalization, it is imperative to have a central agency that can combat corruption and ensure the integrity of public institutions. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's premier investigative agency, was formed precisely for this purpose. Its creation was driven by a series of events that revealed the need for a specialized unit to tackle corruption and financial crimes.

The Context

In the 1950s and 1960s, India experienced rapid economic growth and industrialization, which unfortunately led to an increase in corruption and malpractices. The existing law enforcement agencies were ill-equipped to handle these complex cases, which often involved high-profile individuals and government officials.

The Haridas Mundhra Case: A Catalyst

In 1957, the Haridas Mundhra case, involving the misuse of public funds by a prominent businessman, exposed the inadequacies of the existing investigative apparatus. The case highlighted the need for a specialized agency with the expertise and resources to unravel intricate financial frauds.

Influence of the Santhanam Committee

The public outcry following the Haridas Mundhra case prompted the government to form the Santhanam Committee in 1962. The committee, headed by K. Santhanam, was tasked with recommending measures to tackle corruption in public services. One of the committee's key recommendations was the establishment of a central agency to investigate cases of corruption.

The Formation of the CBI

In response to the Santhanam Committee's recommendations, the government enacted the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act in 1946, which led to the creation of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1963. The CBI was initially tasked with investigating cases of corruption, bribery, and economic offenses involving central government employees.

Expanded Mandate

Over the years, the CBI's mandate has been expanded to include the investigation of a wide range of offenses, including but not limited to:

  • Corruption cases involving public servants and government officials
  • Economic offenses, including fraud, forgery, and counterfeiting
  • Serious crimes such as murder, kidnapping, and terrorism
  • Special crimes like cybercrime and human trafficking

The CBI’s Significance

The CBI is a vital institution that plays a crucial role in upholding the integrity of public institutions and ensuring accountability. Its existence sends a strong message that corruption will not be tolerated and that those involved in such activities will be brought to justice.

Challenges Faced by the CBI

Despite its successes, the CBI has faced its fair share of challenges, including:

  • Political Interference:
    The agency has often been accused of being influenced by political considerations, leading to allegations of bias and a lack of independence.
  • Resource Constraints:
    The CBI is often understaffed and lacks the necessary resources to effectively investigate complex cases.
  • Institutional Resistance:
    Government departments and agencies have sometimes been reluctant to cooperate with the CBI’s investigations, creating obstacles to its work.


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was formed in response to the growing need for a central agency to combat corruption and investigate complex financial crimes. Over the years, it has played a pivotal role in ensuring the integrity of public institutions and holding those involved in corrupt practices accountable. While the CBI continues to face challenges, its role remains indispensable in the fight against corruption and the promotion of good governance.


1. Why was the CBI created?

The CBI was established to address the rampant corruption and economic offenses that plagued India in the 1950s and 1960s. It was formed in response to the Haridas Mundhra case and the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee, which emphasized the need for a specialized agency to tackle corruption.

2. What is the mandate of the CBI?

– The CBI’s mandate includes investigating cases of corruption, economic offenses, serious crimes, and special crimes such as cybercrime and human trafficking.

3. What are some challenges faced by the CBI?

  • The agency faces challenges such as political interference, resource constraints, and institutional resistance from government departments and agencies.

4. How has the CBI impacted India’s fight against corruption?

– The CBI has played a crucial role in combating corruption in India. It has investigated high-profile cases, brought corrupt officials to justice, and sent a strong message that corruption will not be tolerated.

5. What are some of the CBI’s notable achievements?

– The CBI has successfully investigated and prosecuted cases involving corruption, economic fraud, terrorism, and other serious crimes. Notable achievements include the 2G spectrum case, the coal scam case, and the investigation into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.



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