How does cybercrime cell work in india?

29 Jun 2021  Read 36378 Views

Did you know that India loses five times as much in online frauds compared to burglary and theft, with some cities, registering more cybercrime cases with the police than the conventional crimes like murder, theft, burglary? In addition to the cybercrimes that have targeted the Indian consumers, businesses and government agencies, there are various other types of “insider” cybercrimes that have been reported in the country as well. Factors including the country’s increasing digitization, the position as a global outsourcing hub makes India a continuous cybercrime target. This has led to Indian consumers and agencies becoming a victim of high-profile international crimes. However, it should not be forgotten that India also generates a number of cybercrimes that affect Internet users all over the world.

What are the Different Types of Cyber Crime in India?

As per the cyber law in India, the following types of cyber-crimes have been identified.

Hacking: This is the most common types of cybercrime in the country. Hacking is when an unauthorised person breaks into another person’s computer to gain the access to his personal and sensitive information. With everything becoming digitalised, the chances of hacking have increased as well.

Cyber Bullying: When a person uses the internet or any social media network in order to harass, defame a person.

Cyber Stalking: Next to hacking, cyber stalking is also an increasing cybercrime. It is the crime of online harassment with majority of the cases reported against women. 

Online Theft: It is when the person extorts money from the victims, gains access to their sensitive information fraudulently.

Child Soliciting: When a child is approached online for the purpose of making online child pornography.

How to file a Cybercrime Complaint?

According to the Information Technology Act, cybercrimes fall under the ambit of global jurisdiction which means that the complaint can be registered in any cyber cell in India, irrespective of the place where the crime originally took place or where the victim is currently residing. The crime investigation teams have established many cyber cells across different cities in India with the sole purpose of taking care of the reports and investigation of the offences.

As of yet, majority of the cities in India have a cybercrime cell of their own. The victim has the option to register a complaint anytime to the cyber police or crime investigation department, either online or offline. To file a complaint, the victim must submit a written complaint to any of the cybercrime cells. In that written document, the name, contact details and address of the victim must be mentioned. The Head of the cybercrime cell of the city has to be addressed to in the written complaint.

Role of Cybercrime Cells

Although laws regulating the cyber-space have already been enacted in the country, there is a lack of operational manuals which lay down the methods of conducting an investigation related to cybercrimes. A standard operating procedure needs to be set up so that the present force can conduct the investigations without any ambiguity. With the establishment of cyber cells in the cosmopolitan cities in India, there is also a need to build a better technology and investigation infrastructure with highly skilled technical staffs at the other end. The current staff of the cells consist of a mixture if police officers and IT experts. While additional recruitments are always welcomed, efforts should be made to improve the technical capabilities of the department of police as a whole, rather than only the cybercrime cells.

Investigation: For conducting any cybercrime investigation, a certain skill and scientific tool is required without which the investigation is not possible. The Information Technology Act 2000 has made certain changes in the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act, along with the implementation of new regulations to meet the need for cybercrime investigation.

Who can Investigate: Section 78 of the IT Act lays down the law related to the investigation process stating that any police officer not below the rank of Inspector has the power to investigate any case which fall under this act. Since IT Act was not sufficient to meet the necessity, amendments were made in the IPC as well to introduce cybercrime under its ambit.

Process of Search and Arrest: After a complaint is filed, the investigation cells start with the search and seizure of digital evidences, which are the intangible data of the virtual world. The main objective of the investigating officer is to look for a place where the computer or network of computers are to be found. Advice from technical experts should be referred to whenever necessary. The investigating officer has to survey the equipment and take precautionary steps before dismantling the network so as to the important data is not lost.

The next step is to label and picture the entire network system where every network has to be labelled correctly so that reassembly can be done accurately. The power of the police officer and other officers to enter and search the investigation is mentioned in Section 80(1) of the IT Act, which states that any police officer not below the rank of an Inspector or any other officer of the Central and State Government authorised by the Central Government can enter, search and arrest without a warrant, any person who is suspected to have committed or about to commit the offence under the Act.

To fight against the cybercrimes, the CBI has established the following special units:

  • Cyber Crimes Research and Development Unit

  • Cyber Crime Investigation Cell

  • Cyber Forensics Laboratory

  • Network Monitoring Centre.

Documents Requires to file Cyber Crime Complaint

For Email based Complaint

  • Written complaint explaining the complete offence

  • Copy of the alleged email. Copy of the forwarded email should be avoided.

  • Header of the alleged email

  • Copy of the email along with the header should be in both hard and soft copy.

For social media Based Complaint

  • Screenshot or copy of alleged profile and/or screenshot of the URL of the content

  • Hard and Soft copies of the content.

For Mobile App-bases complaints

  • Screenshot of the alleged app

  • Location from where it was downloaded

  • Victim’s bank statement in the cases where transactions took place before/after/during the incident

  • Soft copies of all the mentioned documents

For Data Theft Complaints

  • Copy of the stolen data

  • Copyright certificate of the stolen data

  • Details of any suspected employee

  • In case there is a suspected employee, the following documents will be required:

  1. Letter of appointment

  2. NDA

  3. Assigned list of tasks and gadgets

  4. List of clients the suspect interacts with

  • Proof of breach of data

What to do if the Cyber Cell refuses to register your complaint?

If the cyber cell refuses to register or accept your complaint, you can fill a direct representation to your nearest Judicial Magistrate in which you have to state that your cyber cell has not accepted the complaint under any circumstance.


The relative newness of cybercrimes in the country leads to the fact that most of the Indian internet users are not aware of the severity of behaviours such as information leakage that led to cyber-victimization. There is a need to ensure specialized procedure for the prosecution of cybercrime cases. It should be ensured that stringent punishments are levied on the cyber criminals so that it acts as a deterrent for other possible offenders. Currently, the maximum tenure for punishment for any offence committed is imprisonment up to 3 years. This punishment should be increased to a term that would stop the criminals from committing any crime in the future.

About the Author: Antalina Guha | 29 Post(s)

Antalina Guha, is in the  5th year of B.A. LL.B course in Ajeenkya DY Patil University, with a core interest in Intellectual Property Rights and Criminal law.

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