NEW DELHI :
India’s top crime investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), is set to make major changes to its crime manual, which was last updated in 2005, it said on Wednesday.
The plans come against the backdrop of the agency’s current probes into several high-profile financial and white-collar crimes, including the Punjab National Bank fraud, the ICICI Bank probe, the INX Media case, and allegations of bribery in the purchase of AgustaWestland helicopters.
The crime manual, which lays down the standard operating procedures for the agency to implement has not been updated in 14 years. As such it is yet to factor in two important changes in the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Criminal Procedure Code, which were both amended in 2018.
“There is a crime manual that the CBI follows and that crime manual is from 2005. Since then there has been an amendment in the PC Act, the CrPC, and the Supreme Court has made a large number of judgements as well. Also, in 2005 cybercrime was not as prevalent as it is now and that must be taken into account also," said a CBI spokesperson.
As the agency works out how and when these changes will be enforced, it said it was also looking at increasing coordination between law enforcement agencies to iron out any problems in its investigation procedure. This is likely within the next four months.
The CBI is also trying to come up with a model similar to the one used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the US, said an official familiar with the recent development.
The agency was working to increase inter-agency coordination, not just with other police departments, but with international agencies as well, even as the crime manual of 2005 is undergoing an overhaul, said the official. “The organisation has deep-rooted systems and its own set of established norms and patterns, which are now undergoing change," the official said.
“There is work going on to increase coordination between various state police forces regarding the modus operandi of how inter-state crimes are investigated. Earlier, very few people who had committed crimes were wanted outside the country and vice versa. That has changed. Now the CBI gets requests from other countries also. So this is the roadmap for the long-term and by the end of this year, things will change," said another person familiar with the development.
The agency is also addressing lacunae in its investigation to smoothen the investigation procedures, the person said.
The agency has been investigating key cases such as the INX Media case involving former Union finance minister P. Chidambaram, who is currently in judicial custody. It has also put several Trinamool Congress leaders under the scanner for alleged involvement in the Narada scam, as well as former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav as part of its probe into alleged illegal mining projects.
This planned overhaul comes just months after Rishi Kumar Shukla took charge as the agency’s director in February after a year-long bitter battle between former CBI director Alok Verma and special director and Rakesh Asthana had embroiled the investigation agency in controversy.