CBI vs. Intelligence Bureau (IB)

What's the Difference?

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) are two prominent intelligence agencies in India. While both agencies play crucial roles in maintaining national security, they differ in their primary functions and areas of focus. The CBI is primarily responsible for investigating and solving complex criminal cases, including corruption, economic offenses, and high-profile crimes. On the other hand, the IB is an internal intelligence agency that focuses on gathering and analyzing intelligence related to internal security threats, counter-terrorism, and espionage. While the CBI operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions, the IB functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Despite their distinct roles, both agencies collaborate and share information to ensure the overall security and well-being of the nation.


AttributeCBIIntelligence Bureau (IB)
Agency TypeInvestigative agencyIntelligence agency
Parent OrganizationGovernment of IndiaMinistry of Home Affairs, Government of India
RoleInvestigation of major crimes, corruption cases, economic offensesGathering intelligence, counterintelligence, internal security
HeadquartersNew Delhi, IndiaNew Delhi, India
EmployeesApproximately 7,000Classified
Official Websitecbi.gov.inmha.gov.in

Further Detail


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) are two prominent agencies in India responsible for maintaining law and order, gathering intelligence, and ensuring national security. While both organizations play crucial roles in safeguarding the nation, they differ in their primary functions, jurisdiction, and operational focus. In this article, we will explore the attributes of CBI and IB, highlighting their similarities and differences.

1. Mandate and Jurisdiction

The CBI, established in 1963, is the premier investigative agency in India. It operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions. The primary mandate of the CBI is to investigate and solve complex cases related to corruption, economic offenses, major frauds, and serious crimes that have inter-state or international ramifications. The CBI can take up cases referred by state governments, courts, and central government departments.

On the other hand, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is the oldest intelligence agency in India, founded in 1887. It functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs and is responsible for gathering intelligence within the country and conducting counterintelligence operations. The IB's jurisdiction extends to matters related to national security, terrorism, espionage, and internal threats. It provides intelligence inputs to the government and assists in maintaining law and order.

2. Organizational Structure

The CBI operates as an independent agency with its own cadre of officers. It is headed by a Director who is appointed by the Central Government. The agency is divided into various branches, including the Anti-Corruption Division, Economic Offenses Division, Special Crimes Division, and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory. The CBI also has branches in different states to facilitate effective investigation and coordination with local law enforcement agencies.

Similarly, the Intelligence Bureau has a hierarchical structure with a Director at the helm. The agency is divided into several departments, such as the Counterintelligence Division, Internal Security Division, Border Intelligence Division, and the Cyber Intelligence Wing. The IB also has field units across the country, known as Subsidiary Intelligence Bureaus (SIBs), which gather intelligence at the regional level.

3. Recruitment and Training

The recruitment process for the CBI involves a combination of direct recruitment and deputation from other police organizations. Candidates are selected through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination, followed by an interview and rigorous training at the CBI Academy in Ghaziabad. The training curriculum focuses on investigative techniques, legal procedures, forensic science, and advanced technology.

Contrarily, the Intelligence Bureau recruits officers through the Intelligence Bureau Assistant Central Intelligence Officer (IB ACIO) examination conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The selected candidates undergo training at the Intelligence Bureau Training School in New Delhi. The training program emphasizes intelligence gathering, analysis, counterintelligence operations, and the use of modern surveillance and communication equipment.

4. Operational Focus

The CBI primarily focuses on investigating and solving complex cases related to corruption, economic offenses, and serious crimes. It has the authority to take up cases from across the country, ensuring impartiality and independence in its investigations. The CBI often collaborates with other law enforcement agencies, such as state police forces and the Interpol, to gather evidence and apprehend criminals.

On the other hand, the Intelligence Bureau's primary focus is on gathering intelligence within the country to ensure national security. It collects information related to terrorism, espionage, internal threats, and other activities that may pose a risk to the nation. The IB works closely with state police forces, central intelligence agencies, and international counterparts to analyze intelligence inputs and provide actionable insights to the government.

5. Powers and Legal Authority

The CBI has been granted extensive powers under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. It can conduct searches, make arrests, and file chargesheets in court. The agency can also request assistance from state police forces and other agencies to carry out its investigations. The CBI's authority extends to cases involving public servants, politicians, and individuals involved in inter-state or international crimes.

Similarly, the Intelligence Bureau derives its powers from the Intelligence Bureau (Recruitment) Rules, 2016, and the Intelligence Bureau (Collection of Information) Rules, 1989. While the IB does not possess the power of arrest or filing chargesheets, it plays a crucial role in providing intelligence inputs to law enforcement agencies and the government. The IB's information gathering activities are conducted within the legal framework, respecting individual privacy and civil liberties.


In conclusion, both the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau are vital agencies in India's security apparatus. While the CBI focuses on investigating complex cases related to corruption and serious crimes, the IB's primary role is to gather intelligence and ensure national security. Despite their distinct mandates and operational focuses, both organizations work towards maintaining law and order, protecting the nation, and upholding the principles of justice. The CBI and IB complement each other in their efforts to safeguard India's interests and ensure the well-being of its citizens.

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