IAS officer death: CBI Vs CID what is the difference?

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The Karnataka Government has stuck to its guns and said that there shall be no CBI probe into the death of IAS officer, D K Ravi. This means that the case will be handled by the Criminal Investigation Department which is a specialized force of the Karnataka state established to handle major or important cases.

Dinesh Gundu Rao of the Congress following the Cabinet meeting said that they are not reluctant to hand over the investigation to the CBI, but are confident that the CID of the state will carry out a fair probe.


The CID after all was established to carry out a fair probe independent of any pressure. Established in the year 1974 Criminal Investigation Department it was tasked with the objective to achieve maximum results in the detection of crimes and also to inspire public confidence in police administration.

The agency was meant to be independent and work on the merits of the case. In fact the preamble of the agency clearly states except on ceremonial occasions officers and men of the Criminal Investigation Department should not use uniform and should not salute while greeting their superiors and others.

Why is the opposition unhappy with the CID?

The opposition is clearly not happy that the probe has not been handed over to the CBI. They feel that the CID will not do a fair job of the case as would not probe into the various other factors that could have led to the death of the officer.

For the time being the investigating agency and the state government has stuck to its earlier version of suicide due to personal reasons.

While the CID is meant to be an independent agency, there are still doubts that are raised by many because all the officers are chosen by the state government. The state laws apply to the officers which also would mean that their transfers or increments would be at the sole discretion of the state government.

The opposition believes that these factors could influence the probe a great deal and there is a good chance that the agency which falls under the home ministry could be influenced to twist and turn facts according to the whims and fancies of the government.

Why does the opposition feel a CBI probe is more apt?

The CBI is governed under the central rules and reports to the union home minister. The opposition feels that if a centralized team takes over the probe then it could act independently. The CBI team would not be under the influence of the state government and hence they cannot be pressurized. Moreover the CBI also has a larger jurisdiction when compared to the CID.

The CBI can probe in any state it wants and would not need a special order. However the jurisdiction of the CID is restricted to the state.

Who can order a CBI probe?

The power to recommend a CBI power lies with the state or the union government. The Supreme Court and the High Court too can order a CBI probe if it is felt that the police officials are acting under the influence of the state government.

In the Saradha chit fund scam the Supreme Court had ordered a CBI probe after it had found that the state police may not do justice to the case. The courts normally order a probe if it is petitioned with allegations of bias by the state police.

State governments normally order a CBI if it finds a case has a larger magnitude and has an inter state ramification. The CBI has a jurisdiction across states and does not need special permission unlike the state police to probe across states.

The union government on the other hand has ordered CBI only in major cases in which there are multiple ramifications and a huge amount of money involved. It can also order a CBI probe if it finds that the mechanism in the state has broken down and the probe conducted is entirely unfair.

Why union governments are not in a hurry to order CBI probes?

Union governments normally wait for a recommendation from the states before they give a nod for a CBI probe. If the states recommend a CBI probe the union government normally does not interfere. The CBI too cannot refuse to probe a case once recommended by either the state and union governments.

The union government normally exercises restraint before it orders a CBI probe into crimes committed in states. This is largely because the Constitution states that law and order is a state subject. The centre would want to seem to be imposing on the law and order in a state unless there is a complete break down of the situations.

Why are state governments slow to recommend CBI probe?

State governments would ideally want the state mechanism to function. By immediately ordering CBI probes they would indicate that their police is not up to the job.

They would ideally want to give the state police a chance to probe the case and if they realise there are multiple dimensions which the local police cannot handle a CBI probe would be ordered.

The politics in a CBI probe

A CBI probe is often marred by allegations of political colour. The problem begins when the parties ruling the centre and the state are different. States feel that the CBI which is under the union government could be used as a political tool.

The CBI has been accused in the past by the Supreme Court of being a caged parrot. While this is one part of it, there are also allegations that state governments normally avoid a CBI probe to cover up something.

Ideally in high profile cases the government's would like to leave it up the courts to take a final call on the issue.

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