Crime or Corruption: How to File a Complaint in CBI?

Posted On : March 30, 2022
Crime or Corruption: How to File a Complaint in CBI?
“We do not want the state police to continue, we want the CBI to investigate this matter.” These statements are often read or heard from the victim’s kins when a sensational criminal offence is committed in the country. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the central investigative agency in India which takes up matters of corruption, special criminal and economic offences. But are you aware of how to make complaint to CBI?
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Whenever there is an instance of criminal activity in our vicinity, the first thing that pops in mind is to reach out to the nearby police station. This is the ideal process as well to be followed by everyone, to inform the police. However, sometimes the acting police officers are biassed and do not perform their duties with due diligence because of the problem of bribery. To cope with this lacuna, there was a need for a central police agency which oversees corruption in the police department.

Things are pulling towards the Central Bureau of Investigation, commonly known as CBI. Its foundation goes back to World War II days when expenditure in war efforts had strings with unscrupulous and anti-social persons. The Government of India set up Special Police Establishment (SPE) in 1941 to investigate cases of bribery and corruption. The scope kept widening and the identity kept evolving. Currently, it is known as the Central Bureau of Investigation acting as a central law enforcement agency of police. To investigate any case, CBI needs the approval of the Central Government as well as the State Government whereby investigation has to take place. CBI has been notified to deal with 69 Central and 18 State Acts so far, with 231 offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Since there is an overlap of investigative powers among police and CBI, know how to make complaint to CBI through information provided below.

How to File a Complaint in CBI?

People are not usually aware of how to make complaint to CBI and also ask ‘Can I directly complain to CBI?’. The answer is yes. However, the CBI is a specialised investigative authority and should not be approached for crimes of ‘general and routine nature’. The victims in general are supposed to approach the nearest police station for registration of crimes, even for serious offences. Also, disclosing identity while making a complaint at the Central Bureau of Investigation is a must. CBI does not entertain anonymous or pseudonymous complaints. However, their identity may be kept a secret if the complainant wants so.


How to Make a Complaint to the CBI?

Nature of Crime

Details of Offence



Bribery or Corruption by Public Servants of the Central Government

Any nearest anti-corruption branch of CBI

Economic Offences

All India or inter-state ramifications:

  • Bank frauds
  • Fake currency
  • Smuggling of contraband items

CBI Branches at any of the metropolitan cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai

Special Crime offences

All India or inter-state ramifications:

  • Drug and human trafficking
  • Poaching of wildlife
  • Adulteration of drugs and food products
  • Organised crime

CBI Branches at any of the metropolitan cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai


For the part where States are required to give consent for CBI investigation, that is not mandatory in each and every case. Since some states have given their general consent for  complaints of corruption against the public servants of the Central Government serving in the states. For other cases, confirmation from the concerned State is a must.


Also read - How to Defend a CBI Case?


How to Write a Complaint Letter to CBI?

After knowing how to report to CBI, it is also important to know what to report. A complaint to CBI office should include the following:

  • Exact contact details of the concerned CBI branch of suitable jurisdiction.
  • Intention of the complainant to report a crime - corruption, economic or special criminal offences.
  • Identity of the complainant.
  • Details related to the person against whom a CBI complaint is being made.
  • Complete description of the criminal activity - what, when and how’s of the offence.
  • Details on whether the nearest police station has been informed.


Where to Report to CBI?

  • For matters of corruption by public servants of the Central Government: An individual can complain at any nearest anti-corruption branch of CBI. Such branches are located in all State capitals and many cities as well.
  • For Economic and Special Crime offences: CBI branches at all 4 metropolitan cities, i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.


How Can I Complain to CBI Online?

It is not mandatory for the complainant to visit the CBI offices physically in order to lodge a complaint. There are other modes as well that can be tried. Read below to know how to report to CBI:

  • For details of nearest CBI branches including CBI complaint email ID, Click Here.
  • Complaint to CBI can be sent through post at the nearest CBI branch.
  • Complaints can be lodged via SMS from mobile at the nearest CBI office.
  • Complainant can also call the concerned CBI branch (contact the concerned office’s contact number telephonically).
  • Complaints through emails to concerned CBI officers can also be made.


Complaint Modes for CBI



CBI Official website

Click Here

For complaint at CBI Network/ Zones

(CBI Complaint number, CBI complaint email ID

Click Here

Economic Crime

[email protected]

  • Conmen posing as CBI officers or their acquaintances
  • Fraudulent e-mails bearing CBI Logo

[email protected]


Call at 011-24362755, 011-24361273

Illegal Human Trafficking (Trafficking of Children or Women)

Call at 011 - 24368638


Contact criminal lawyer in Kolkata for offences reportable to CBI.


Departments/ Divisions of CBI

Just like any other bureaucratic department, there is a certain CBI investigation procedure depending upon the matters they are entrusted with as a department. As per the CBI website[1], the various divisions of CBI police are as follows:


  • Anti Corruption Division
  • Economic Offences Division
  • Special Crimes Division
  • Directorate of Prosecution
  • Administration Division
  • Policy & Coordination Division
  • Central Forensic Science Laboratory


CBI Investigation Procedure

After knowing how to file a complaint in the CBI, it is essential for readers to understand the significance of the Central Bureau of Investigation. CBI conviction rate ranges from 65-70%[2]. This lays emphasis on the CBI investigation procedure which includes the following:

  • Evaluation of evidence by Forensic Laboratories
  • Evidence evaluation by Government Examiners of Questioned Documents (GEQDs)
  • Collecting evidence in another country if required - Investigation abroad
  • Multi-layer supervision within the CBI
  • Analysis of evidence collected at multiple levels by concerned executive officers and law officers


Suo-motu Investigation by CBI

Before explaining this pointer, understanding what suo-motu means is important. Suo-motu means on its own accord, without any request. Here in this context, CBI is empowered to suo-motu, i.e. on its own accord, take up cases for investigation only in the Union Territories as per Section 2 of DSPE Act.[3] However, CBI can not take up a case for investigation on its own in the state or beyond, for example the high seas.


Contact Criminal lawyers for legal assistance.


CBI and State Police Registered Case

People often have queries like ‘Can CBI investigate in any state?’ or ‘Can CBI investigate a case registered by the State Police?’. The answer is in affirmation for both the matters. The process is as follows:

  • If the concerned State government requests and the Central government agrees for the same; or
  • Issuance of notification by the concerned State government under Section 6 of the DSPE Act[4] and issuance of Central Government’s notification under Section 5 of the same DSPE Act[5]; or
  • The hon’ble Supreme Court or High Courts order CBI investigation in a particular matter.



Since CBI is a special investigation agency, it should be invoked for cases that include several state jurisdictions, or matters of all India jurisdiction, as the case may be. Also, the matters taken up are specific in nature. Thus, before knowing how to file a complaint in the CBI, it is pertinent to know what to report based on the CBI investigation procedure. Cases like Arushi Talwar’s murder, actor Sushant Singh Rajpoot’s death, 2G spectrum, death of a student in an international school in Gurugram are some examples that sensationalized the whole country. These are also some examples whereby a CBI investigation was demanded. Now, whether it is the trust on CBI as a central agency or distrust over the local police is a big question.




[2] As per CBI website (FAQ no. 27) at

[3] Section 2 reiterates constitution and powers of special police establishment.

[4] Section 5 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act,1946 - Consent of State Government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction.

[5] Section 5 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act,1946 - Extension of powers and jurisdiction of special police establishment to other areas.

Written By:


Kolkata | Delhi | Mumbai | Bangalore | Chennai | Pune | Vadodara | Nagpur | Goa | Anand

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