CBI, NIA take a cue from FBI, give themselves special jackets


A nominal image makeover or a much-needed exercise to give India's investigative agencies a unique image? The verdict may be out but both the CBI and NIA are clear that they are going to stick with the jackets embossed with their names that they have taken to flaunting during searches or investigations.

The CBI's jacket is blue and white, a first such dress code for the agency whose origins can be traced back to before Independence. Unlike police forces in the country, its officers were usually seen in plainclothes.

The new jackets first made an appearance a year ago as the CBI felt the need to "distinguish" itself from other investigating agencies. An exercise is now on to improve their design and quality, and the inspiration is the US's distinctive FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) jacket.

According to CBI officials, jackets for the agency were first designed in 2011 by the Mumbai branch of the agency and no expert assistance from any designer was sought.

Later, the training department of the CBI at its Ghaziabad academy took over and ordered the jackets in large numbers for the agency's staff all over the country. These were first used by CBI teams during raids related to the National Rural Health Mission scam in February this year.

"One CBI jacket costs around Rs 1,200 and it is being provided to all the investigating officers. Unlike police uniforms, the jacket does not differentiate between ranks and designation. Plainclothes led to anonymity whenever a team went for a raid, with many not taking our orders seriously. This jacket gives us a professional edge," said a CBI officer.

The National Investigation Agency, set up after the Mumbai 26/11 attack, also takes its inspiration from FBI jackets. Its investigating officers have clear instructions to carry their jackets identifying themselves as NIA officials while visiting any spot or carrying out raids. During the 2011 Delhi High Court blast, these were a common sight.

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