Functioning of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of India

September 27, 2021

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This article is written by Harsh Gupta from the School of law, HILSR, Jamia Hamdard. This is an exhaustive article which deals with the power and functions of the Crime Investigation Department in detail.


Indian Police Crime Investigation Department (CID) conducts investigations and gathers intelligence. The British Government established it in 1902, following the recommendations of the Police Commission. CID’s Crime Branch is a special wing in the CID headed by the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) with assistance from the Inspector General of Police (IGP). It investigates serious crimes such as riots, forgery, counterfeiting, and cases referred by the state government or the High Court. Additionally, the CID has an Anti-Human Trafficking & Missing Persons Cell, an Anti-Narcotics Cell, a Finger Print Bureau, and an Anti-Terrorism Wing. Since every state has its own Police Manual which contains the power and functions of CID, so here, the author has referred to the Jharkhand Police Manual and thereby mentioned its rules to explain the power and functions of CID.

Functions of CID

Despite popular belief, the Indian police have a department known as the Criminal Investigation Department or CID. However, its media counterpart is more dramatic. Typically, the Criminal Investigation Department of a state is the intelligence or investigation wing of the state police. Moreover, it helps the police deal with certain types of cases. Shortly, it functions as the State Police Department, but with more advanced features. CIDs have two core functions, intelligence, and investigation, as have been outlined above.

According to Section 410 of the Jharkhand/Bihar Police Manual, CID has several functions to perform. The Police Department performs such functions differently. CID performs the following functions:

  1. The following chart details the collection and distribution of information regarding professional cases and crime classes:
  1. To inquire and investigate the above crimes; to advise, assist, or control them, as circumstances require. Moreover, in serious crimes, when the local authority seeks the assistance of the CID with the approval of the inspector general or government of the state. The CID also assists local police by searching for information about foreign criminals and such matters as requested by the local police for assistance.
  2. In cases where there is fraud involving telegraphic receipts or railroad receipts, postal fraud, international criminal movement, or the like, the department may be enlisted or directed to assist.

In addition to this, the crime investigation department performs the following additional functions due to the complexity of crime and the working conditions:

Difference between CID and CBI


The CBI investigates crimes concerning national or international interest. The CID is the state police department that enquires into offences committed within its jurisdiction.


On the recommendation of the Police Commission, the British government established the CID in 1902. A Special Police Establishment was established as part of CBI in 1941 (SPE).

Area of operation

CID has jurisdiction over a particular state only, while CBI has jurisdiction over the entire country.


Those filed with the CID go to the State government and High Courts, whereas those filed with the CBI go to the Supreme Court, Federal Government, and State government.

How to join the agency?

To join the CID, the candidate can either join the state police force and be promoted to the concerned department based on the service record, or they can pass the UPSC Civil Services examination.

CBI requires candidates to qualify for the Civil Services Exam and to become IPS officers to become group A officers. The SSC CGL exam is also required for becoming a sub-inspector of the CBI.

Investigating squads and offices

The CID sets up specialized squads to investigate cases. Each squad has officers who investigate the cases related to it. Squads shall consist of the following types:

The department needs a certain type of office to accomplish its work efficiently. Furthermore, they help in deriving conclusions from collected data. The department is supported by the following branches:

Distribution of information

Normally, information is distributed through the Criminal Intelligence Gazette. Supervisors are responsible for instructing their subordinates to make intelligent use of this publication.  Officers should not limit their interest to matters concerning their own police station, subdivision, or district, but should send any information they might require on all subjects mentioned in this Gazette to their Superintendents for transmission to the Criminal Investigation Department.    

Definition of “enquiry” and “investigation”

The definition of an enquiry under Section 2(g) of CrPC refers to any enquiry other than a trial conducted under the CrPC by a Magistrate or Court. Under Section 2(h) of the Criminal Procedure Code, an investigation is any action taken by a police officer or a person (other than a magistrate) with the permission of a magistrate to gather evidence. The word “enquiry” refers to the process of collecting information before making an “investigation”. Under Sections 156 and 157 of the CrPC, an officer-in-charge of a police station is empowered to conduct an investigation when there is reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence.

Criminal Intelligence Bureau

To be able to combat professional and organized crime effectively, the Criminal Intelligence Bureau provides Investigating Officers with all available information on a specific criminal or crime class. Information is compiled and classified in the bureau. The Criminal Intelligence Bureau keeps in touch with the District Crime Bureaux located in the offices of District Superintendents so that both parties can share information:

References to Criminal Intelligence Bureau

When a case occurs in which from the criminal’s modus operandi it appears that a record could be kept in the Criminal Intelligence Bureau, the Superintendent must contact the officer in charge of the bureau immediately. It is the responsibility of Circle Inspectors to inform their district headquarters promptly of such cases so that referrals can be made without delay. In ordinary cases, a written reference will suffice, but in the event of an important cause, or if it appears that such a course is likely to be advantageous, an officer should be deputed to consult the bureau directly. References must be followed as soon as possible. 

Responsibility of Deputy Inspector-General, Ranges, and CID

When control is assumed, the responsibility for general control is transferred from the Range Deputy Inspector-General to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department. As far as possible, the Criminal Investigation Department shall give directions for investigation in such cases and their investigators will conduct the investigation themselves under Rule 431. The local district force will provide full assistance. However, such general control includes the determination of the broad lines of enquiry or investigation, as well as such supervision of the conduct of the same thereafter as will prevent serious errors or irregularities; whilst Superintendents, except in the special eases mentioned in Rule 426, are responsible, under such general control, for the details of enquiry or investigation within their districts. If the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department is only required to advise or assist, the Range Deputy Inspector-General remains in charge, and the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department shall keep the Range Deputy Inspector-General informed. In Rule 245, you will find the rules regarding responsibility for oversight of prosecutions.

Powers of CID

People are developing with every passing second in the dynamic environment. There is always a new way to commit a crime. Advances in technology have led to cybercrimes, for example. Nevertheless, technology allows us to achieve previously impossible goals. As a result, it directly leads to the greater complexity of crime and working conditions. The Criminal Investigation Department has several other powers besides its regular functions. These are some of the powers of the Criminal Investigation Department:


As a result of all the attention we’ve given to CID, it’s clear that it has a significant role to play in the state. Nevertheless, it primarily works behind the scenes. As important as the police department’s functions are those of the CID. Nevertheless, CID has control in certain areas where the police department has no authority. As a distinct feature of CID, CID is also able to keep records of crimes and criminals executed.


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