The CIB’s work explained: Part III

3 min read
24 Sep 2017
3 min read
998 words
The types of training CIB officers have to undergo

Once appointed to work for the CIB, officers are deployed to various specialised areas of focus pertaining to the pillar strategy. The CIB provides a range of training activities for its staff (who sometimes even attend sessions conducted by the FBI). These sessions bring in all manner of experts from every area--illegal wildlife trade, white-collar crime, trafficking, and so on. However, much of the training that CIB police officers receive is obtained on the job. Then there is the 'other' kind of training the officers need to undergo--in order to operate as undercover agents.

Among CIB officers, the story of one agent 'Bipin' is often shared because it captures the nature of undercover work. When Bipin joined the CIB, he told his father that he had gotten into the police force as a sub-inspector; he was the first in his family to land a government job, the first in the family to get a 'pensionable job'--and thus the family's happiness knew no bounds. A few years later, Bipin's father bumped into his son in one of the busy streets of Kathmandu. Bipin was stationed at one corner of the street, among the throng, like the rest of the hawkers--he was selling cigarettes, lighters and chewing-gum. Bipin wasn't clad in a shiny blue police uniform; and upon seeing Bipin, his father thought his son had become a hawker. So distressed was the father, that he broke down before his son. But Bipin wasn't deceiving his father; he was merely working as an undercover CIB agent. If only his father were privy to why Bipin had been selected to become an undercover agent.

The CIB employs a select group comprising the most qualified agents--like Bipin--to perform undercover operations that contribute to the intelligence cycle. Most of the CIB's undercover agents are junior police officers, and some agents are also hired from a pool of confidential informants. Undercover agents need to have a plausible fictitious story about their identity; they require proper documents that validate their new identity and the appropriate mannerisms that fit the environment and situation they inhabit. Criminals will always try to interrogate those they suspect might be undercover agents and fire questions their way and use other tactics before they actually accept them into their inner circle. Agents are trained to remain calm in such situations.

Infiltration is another critical process of establishing a relationship between undercover officers and suspects. This is where the informant comes in. The informant helps an agent follow the right trail, like for example, knowing where the suspect goes on a typical Saturday night--it might be a bar or a nightclub. Initiating conversations in more casual environments helps bring together the suspect and the agent. It is in these situations that the CIB's months-long training comes to use. By this time, undercover agents will already be aware of what to say and what not to, when to probe further and when to swiftly disappear if the situation gets too dangerous. If the undercover assignment takes the officers to the suspect's house, the undercover agents are taught to be aware of all the escape routes and of anything that raises their suspicion. The CIB also provides the agents with self-defence training--on how to conceal their weapons and disarm opponents, among other tactics. The agents need to be ready to face any situation that comes their way.

"The primary objective is to help the agents blend seamlessly in a new milieu," says a former undercover agent who is now working as an instructor at the CIB. According to the instructor, an undercover agent requires a combination of a variety of skills (the skill to conduct lengthy observations while remaining almost invisible, among others) to completely internalise.  

Surveillance operations are imperative for gathering intelligence, as they require that suspects are kept under surveillance without arousing any suspicion. For this, an undercover agent must gain familiarity with the suspect's characteristics, and the scope of crimes in which the suspect is involved, for which CIB agents employ various surveillance tactics--everything from tailing suspects on foot and vehicle to living in temporary quarters next to a suspect's residence and spying on them. For example, a few years ago, these tactics were used to apprehend the leader of the infamous International Black Spider Group, which had been involved in extorting money from rich businessmen, doctors and bankers in Nepal. In 2010, Milan Lama--the leader of the Black Spider gang--was arrested in New Delhi after a five-year manhunt. In order to nab Lama, two undercover agents (who put up in a building across Lama's residence) followed Lama's every movement, every day, for about three months--from his gym to his leisure Saturdays at his cousin's. With the support of the intelligence unit, who were working tirelessly at the CIB office, the agents collected enough evidence before contacting the INTERPOL in India. That's how the five-year-long manhunt came to an end. 

For part I, click here.

For II, click here.