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Home » IAS Articles » Indian Foreign Services Articles » Intelligence Services ( CBI, IB, RAW) - Nature of Work, Entry / Training

Intelligence Services ( CBI, IB, RAW) - Nature of Work, Entry / Training


Security and Intelligence Services with the government have become sought after careers . With increase in corruption, crime, and terrorist activities,there is constant need for investigative intelligence . This career is bound to attract attention of sincere and honest young aspirants seeking a challenging career. Investigation requires single minded determination, involves field work in inaccessible, remote and dangerous territories among alien and criminal environment. It could involve chasing a hardened criminal, murderer, dacoit, a rapist, economic offender, smuggler, foreign spying agents, secret bank account holders in India and abroad or put one in hot pursuit of criminals in foreign countries.

Intelligence Services took shape in India in 1861 primarily for collection, assimilation, and analysis of information. Simultaneously, the intelligence department played a preventive role in the arena of crime, and the task was entrusted to the police.

Under the British, the need for a special agency to get advance information and subsequent coordination of the detection and prevention of political crimes was also realized. The agency so instituted thus grew into a full fledged department at the provincial level and came to be known as the Criminal Investigative Department - CID. This department had two main divisions : the Special or Security Branch and the Crime Branch. The Special Branch was responsible for investigating into subversive political activities, and movement of foreigners, etc. The Crime Branch was involved exclusively with criminal intelligence, e.g. terrorist movements, specialised crimes like counterfeiting of currency, economic offences and bank frauds. The Crimes were required to be registered at the local police station. Considering their importance and ramification, specialised personnel were required for the job as the 'police' manpower was inadequate.

Public safety, law and order, internal security, prevention and detection of crime etc. has been the responsibility of the Provincial Police (at the State level) and Indian Police Services (IPS) at Central level. Provincial Police services are controlled by a Commissioner of Police under the State Home Ministry. Whereas the Central Bureau of Investigation functions under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry at the centre. This organisation works on referral of cases from Home Ministry or when specially called for by the Supreme Court or High Courts.

At the non governmental level there are private detective agencies.

Nature of work

Today's investigators fall under two broad categories - Government intelligence offices and private detectives. Both categories require individuals with grit, courage and discernment. Government intelligence agencies are further categorised into the Indian Police Service. Crime Branch, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research Analysis Wing (RAW) and some others.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

The necessity for an intelligence body at the Centre was felt in 1940. The Central Bureau of Investigation ('CBI') was started in 1941as the special police estab­­lish­ment to investigate cases of corruption elsewhere and in the material supply department of the Government of India during the Second World War.

The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 came later. It enlarged the jurisdiction of the agency to cover all departments of the Government of India. It placed the agency under the Home Department. The agency had jurisdiction over the Union territories alone but the same was extended to States also after their consent was obtained.

In 1963, the Central Bureau of Investigation was set up by the Government of India and it was given responsibility for criminal intelligence, Interpol, etc. The CBI has at present acquired a multi dimensional role covering the investigation in major areas of crime such as crime on the high sea or the serious organized/professional crimes including economic offences.

The CBI is an organisation with professional investigators. CBI's operations cover two departments : Anti Corruption and Special Crimes. The CBI on being informed, registers a case and depending on its importance requires Superinten­dent of Police (SP), Deputy Inspector General (DIG) or Inspector General (IG) to order an enquiry into that case.

Investigation Bureau (IB)

The IB, created by an executive order, has no legal powers to investigate. It is primarily concerned with analysis of information. It has 2 broad categories of service. The Class One Service begins with Assistant Director rising to Deputy Director, Joint Director and finally Special Director or the Special Secretary. The superior posts are filled from State Police Service officers - IPS, CRPF, Army, Revenue Service. Some, are filled through promotions. For this position, as per tradition, the senior most IPS officers are sent on deputation.

In Grade II, the IB recruits officers directly. The junior most post is of a Security Assistant (Constable). Junior Intelligence Officers and the Assistant Central Intelligence Officers belong to the Officer Grade. Mostly, these officers rise to the rank of a Deputy Central Intelligence Officer, that is immediately below the Assistant Director belonging to Class II service. Deputy Central Intelligence Officers may be appointed through deputation or by direct recruitment to these posts.

Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)

RAW was part of Investigation Bureau till 1968 but presently it is engaged only in Research and Analysis. It has an internal intelligence section and the counter intelligence section. It is expected to offset the intelligence offensives of other countries against our own country.

The duties with RAW involves collecting information and further investigating in two major ways :

  • Tactical intelligence which is on a day to day basis.
  • Strategic intelligence, for assessment of future possibilities, providing the Government to get an insight into various contingencies and enabling necessary action.

Personal Characteristics

Good health, a high intellect, a disciplined and persevering bent of mind are the requisite qualities. Extensive knowledge of the subject of intelligence work is essential. This career requires doing of thorough surveillance and collection of details of political, geographical, scientific and cultural intelligence of target areas.

In RAW the officer needs to have a sharp, analytical mind with a keen sense of perception besides mental ability. Even though the analytical work is relegated to the desk, the research part often requires him to meet different persons, often highly influential, and he constantly needs to build up his assets and sources to succeed in his work.

Entry and Training


The CBI has four different categories of officer grade posts. At the lowest rung on the ladder is the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) which is the only point of direct recruitment to the CBI through the Union Public Service Commission. The rising positions are: DSP, Superintendent of Police (SP), Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and finally Inspector General (Commissioner of Police). These posts are filled by IPS officers on deputation or promotion from below.

The top rank is of the Inspector General (Commissioner of Police) for which there are eight positions in the country, with only one position being reserved for a promoted officer.

Direct recruitment - Direct recruitment to CBI is at the Sub-Inspector, Assistant Public Prose­cutor and Senior Public Prosecutor (SPP) levels, beside of course the group 'D' employments. The Assistant PPs, Senior PPs and SPP's are appointed ­­­­through competitive examinations conducted by Staff Selection Commission located in various states. Vacancies and qualification requirements for these posts are published in newspapers.

Eligibility - For Assistant PP, LL.B. (Law) with 5 years experience is the minimum qualification. For Deputy SP, graduation and for Senior Public Prosecutor, graduation in Law with 10 years experience is the minimum qualification.

Appointment to the rank of Sub Inspector is done by the Central Staff Selection Commission through a competitive examination held approximately in June - August every year at various centres in the country. This cadre is the main stay of the organisation since it conducts the investigation of cases of within the country and abroad.

Sub-Inspector - He should be between 18-25 years of age. He should be graduate. His height should be 5'6" and chest 32' (+2"). Written test is conducted in English and GK. Followed by interview and Medical.

Training - Directly recruited CBI Officers are trained at the Police Academy in Ghaziabad (UP) IPS Officers are trained at Hyderabad (AP). There is an exclusive CBI training centre at Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi. CBI jobs are for the physically fit and mentally alert. Academic success is expected. Transfers and tours are almost certain.

The chances of growth for direct officers are slow.


Research & Analysis Wing (Raw) is technically under the Cabinet Secretary. Recruitment in RAW is done in the following manner :

Direct recruitment - Deputy Field Officers (DFO) are appointed directly at the junior levels and then the field officers and senior field officers. DFO are recruited for General Duty (GD), tel com, technical and economics. Other than GD, the rest are promoted to FO and then RO (Resident Officers) in their respective cadres.

Field officers (equivalent to inspector) and senior field officer (equivalent to DSP) are appointed on seniority. You need to work for a minimum of eight years as a DFO to be promoted to the next level, that is a FO. Similarly after minimum five years FO is promoted to senior field officer (SFO) (Class I) rank. Foreign postings are only for General Duty FO and SFO, under, secretary, deputy secretary, director, joint secretary and additional secretary. Recruitment at the lowest Class I level is with a basic pay scale of Rs. 8000(Revised).

As a probationer an under secretary gets Rs. 10,500(revised). As per rules, 50 per cent posts in the superior service are filled through direct recruitment and the remaining 50 per cent through deputation, promotion, and deputation of special officers from the CBI, IT, Customs, RBI and State Police (at the SP, DIG, or IG level) for 5-7 yrs or more. The lowest level of recruitment is that of an 'attache' and during the probation period he is given the designation of an under secretary.

Senior level appointments - Senior level appointments are made in two ways. The first way : on the campus recruitment of Civil Service candidates at the foundation course and second way : recruitment of university graduates. The general criteria followed is a Ist class from Class X onwards. Final selection is made through interviews.

Specialist appointments - Special appointments are made in technical or scientific field through campus interviews at such institutes. RAW prefers persons who have had some experience of working in government organisations. Interview panels include experts and selectors from UPSC.

Language specialists - They find employment with RAW because it deals with foreign countries and is involved in the study of foreign service materials characteristics. Raw recruits interpreters who are promoted to assistant foreign language examiner and then to deputy foreign language examiner. Interpreters are recruited directly to the language cadre. There is no SC/ST quota or reservation for any of these jobs.

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