How To Defend A CBI Case?

Posted On : May 4, 2022
How To Defend A CBI Case?
How are CBI cases solved? How to Defend a CBI Case? What are trial rules for CBI cases in India? If all such questions make your head spin, take a read till the end.
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When it comes to government jobs, people in India are more than obsessed. The reputation and social status acknowledges a sudden uplift for those who crack it. There is no doubt on the euphoria that accompanies being included under the definition of a public servant as per law. However, with such a reputed position comes a great responsibility to maintain its’ integrity and not get swayed away by forbidden gains.


Corruption is one such termite which has almost engulfed the credibility of the government sector in India. That is where the prima facie role of Central Bureau of Investigation, India comes into picture. The investigating agency is well known for complex CBI cases solved through efficiency. Little do the people know that the agency was primarily founded for investigating matters of corruption only. However, with the efficiency and fame gained with time through CBI biggest cases, certain special crimes and economic offences are also subject to become CBI cases for investigation. With such a strong and weighty prosecution in the court of law, knowing how to defend a CBI case is paramount for defence lawyers. While CBI cases in India have much relevance, the CBI biggest cases like 2G scam, Aarushi Talwar murder, Sushant Singh Rajput death have been followed by general public as well. CBI case details hold much more relevance for the defence attorney during the trial.


How to Defend a CBI Case?

Before starting with any explanation on defending CBI cases in India, it is integral to realise that the strategy followed by criminal lawyers varies based on experience. However, for those searching for details of trials during CBI cases in India, here is an attempt to understand the basics of how to defend a CBI case which may prove relevant at least for recent graduates stepping into litigation.


What Cases can CBI Investigate?

To answer ‘how to defend a CBI case?’, it is pertinent to know about typical CBI cases in India to be taken up as per the applicable laws. Among the 6 divisions of CBI, one is the Investigation & Anti Corruption Division also known as the Delhi Special Police Establishment. Matters investigated by CBI primarily involve corruption which laid the foundation stone of the agency. However, certain special crimes and economic offences involving inter-state elements are also passed on to the CBI to ensure transparency. Such transfer of matters by the State Police as CBI cases in India requires consent from governments of the Union as well as the State so concerned. Coming back to how to defend a CBI case, this pointer can be used by the CBI defence lawyer against the prosecution if there is any loophole left in attaining such permissions. If a CBI case status is yet to be confirmed through nature and prosecution kicks in, it can be questioned by the defence side at the very initial stage in case inter-state elements are not given complete regard. 

Also read ‘How to file a CBI complaint?


Sanction of Prosecution

The question of when a prosecution may proceed with given CBI cases in India, the answer lies with Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The provision lays for previous sanction from the concerned authorities regarding sanction of the said public servant before CBI prosecution may initiate the case. Specifically in the matters of corruption, it is integral to have prior sanction of prosecution from the competent authority.[1] For questions like how to defend a CBI case in PC Act matters, this contention can play a crucial role for the CBI defence lawyers. Various questions of validity based on irregularity can be raised against a sanction order. Some of the examples are as follows:

  • Whether the sanction of prosecution was granted by a competent authority?;
  • Whether valid reasons of such sanction have been expressly enumerated in the sanction order by the authority?;
  • If the sanctioning authority is among the witnesses during trial?, etc.

However, whether such question against prior sanction of prosecution so challenged in the CBI court holds much relevance in setting aside a conviction[2] may vary from case to case.

Contact and consult with criminal lawyers in Kolkata.


CBI Chargesheet

People who have ever been interested in knowing about criminal laws are aware of what a chargesheet is in general terms. The Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides for police reports on completion of investigation. It contains a complete report of investigation by police starting with details of FIR /complaint, statements of the accused, evidence collected, witnesses involved, etc. It is the sole document which prosecution and defence bring in their versions during trial before the court. In regular cases, the chargesheet submitted before the concerned trial court ranges between 200-300 pages leaving aside certain exceptions. However, when it comes to CBI cases in India, the chargesheet is a much bulky document. Since the CBI is a renowned agency for the quality of investigation, there is an attempt to turn every stone in order to unveil the truth of the matter involved.


How to defend a CBI Case with a Chargesheet?

For concerned persons searching for how to defend a CBI case, a bulky CBI chargesheet is a great opportunity. When words are less, there is less to counter. But when too much has been said, some loopholes also accompany. Here comes the duty of the concerned defence lawyer to make use of it through his/ her legal expertise.


How to Defend a CBI Case through Provisions Invoked?

The legal provisions invoked in a CBI case in India hold utmost relevance for a case brought for trial before the court of law. This fact is well known to those in legal practice, i.e. lawyers in India. Although this is a common practice to question the non-compliance with applicable provisions in cases, the same holds relevance in CBI cases in India as well. Thus, any point of doubt in satisfying the statutory provisions by prosecution in CBI case details may bring some benefit to the accused.

How to Defend a CBI Case with CBI Manual?

The Central Bureau of Investigation, India is not a self-proclaimed investigating agency but holds roots in pre-established laws in India. The process to be followed in CBI cases in India are broadly laid in the CBI Manual. It should be noted that the CBI Manual is not a statutory document passed by the legislature.[3] It is a procedural document drafted by the central government which the CBI has to adhere to. While searching how to defend a CBI case, a CBI manual may hold much relevance. In the Vineet Narain[4] case, the Hon’ble Supreme court has held the CBI Manual to be a mere guideline. However, in Ashok Kumar Aggarwal[5], the apex court supported strict compliance with the guidelines in CBI manual. Thus, if merits in a case allow questioning the non-compliance with CBI Manual during investigation, the same should be used by the concerned defence lawyers for CBI cases in India. 

CBI Investigation: Evidence

The Central Bureau of Investigation India is well known for being one of the top investigative agencies in the world. Evidence collected by the CBI is rarely questionable. But then, such evidence is not manufactured by the CBI but collected from concerned organisations, crime scenes, etc. Since there is a specific procedure for CBI cases in India, by the time a case is handed over to the CBI, loss of evidence is also normal. Most of the evidence in CBI case details include documents, which can also be forged. Thus, the defence lawyer, in the instance of a little bit of doubt, may question the validity of such evidence. Also, investigations under CBI cases in India are time consuming due to inter-state elements. Such laches can be a great advantage for the defence side since courts of law lay great significance on time and delay during trial.


Burden of Proof

In cases of civil as well as criminal nature, burden of proof plays a vital role. Usually, it is the prosecution which has to satisfy the court beyond doubt regarding the events related to commitment of offence. For CBI cases in India, the prima facie duty to establish the facts regarding commitment of offence by the accused lies with the prosecution. This fact plays an important role in how to defend a CBI case. The defence lawyer thereby has to make an opportunity through the rule of burden of proof against CBI cases in India. 



The biggest challenge for how to defend a CBI case is the agency itself, i.e. the Central Bureau of Investigation India. The process followed under CBI cases solved as well as those pending trial is at par with the laws applicable. One of the reasons behind this fact is teaming up of Investigating Officers and Prosecution for CBI cases in India. Thus, how to defend a CBI case becomes a challenge for defence lawyers. However, with a pre-defined strategy and focus, one can save the accused and gain experience in such matters in the legal profession. 

[1] State of Karnataka through CBI vs C. Nagarajaswamy (2005) 8 SCC 370.

[2] State of Madhya Pradesh vs Jiyala (2009) 15 SCC 72.

[3] Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Anr v. Thommandru Hannah Vijayalakshmi @ T. H. Vijayalakshmi and Anr. (2021).

[4] Vineet Narain v. Union of India (1998) 1 SCC 226.

[5] CBI v. Ashok Kumar Aggarwal (2014) 14 SCC 295.

Written By:
Ridhi Khurana

Ridhi Khurana


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