The Crown Office called in Strathclyde Police to formally investigate alleged criminality after inspecting information handed to them by Duff & Phelps, the administrator.
The move came as Charles Green's Rangers were effectively consigned to time outside the top rung of Scottish football for the first time since the inception of the Scottish Football League in 1890.
The Crown Office confirmed the investigation 13 days after joint liquidators from insolvency experts BDO were brought in by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate the financial affairs of Rangers over the past two decades.
It admitted at the time criminal or civil proceedings could be brought against directors involved with the club over that period.
It is expected, as with the BDO investigation, that police will look into whether Whyte ran up debts while the club was effectively insolvent.
Whyte put the club into administration on February 14 over alleged non-payment of £9 million in PAYE and VAT taxes.
They are also expected to examine whether the deal that saw Sir David Murray sell the club to Whyte for £1 in May last year was legal.
Before he was confirmed as owner, Whyte set up a deal to complete the purchase of the club by selling off the rights to four years of Rangers season tickets to London-based agency Ticketus to raise £25m. Most of that was used to pay off the club's debt with Lloyds Banking Group, a condition of the club sale.
Court papers show the administrators' legal advisers told Court of Session judge Lord Hodge they believed the Ticketus deal was illegal on the grounds it was indirectly providing financial assistance for the acquisition of Rangers's shares, contrary to the Companies Act 2006.
Insolvency experts have also said directors can be found guilty of misfeasance by giving ownership to someone who was not a fit and proper person.
Duff & Phelps, the administrators nominated by Whyte, have since negotiated a sale of the club's assets to the Sevco consortium led by Charles Green for £5.5m after creditors rejected an agreement which would have seen Rangers pay pennies in the pound for estimated debts of about £134m.
Whyte, who has denied taking part in any criminality in his takeover and subsequent management of Rangers, confirmed last year he had previously been banned from holding a company directorship for seven years in 2000. He threatened to sue the BBC over a documentary in October that revealed the ban.
Whyte was also later hit with a lifetime ban from Scottish football by the Scottish Football Association and fined £200,000 for bringing the game into disrepute.
He claimed the punishment procedure carried out by the Scottish FA was a "farce" and that he would not pay the fine.
Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray said: "The board's priority is to rebuild the club for the future and we are 100% focused on that task.
"We welcome any investigation that examines events at the club and will offer every assistance if required.
"The rank and file Rangers fans are blameless. Rightly, they want answers and for those responsible for the club's fate in recent times to be held to account. Hopefully this investigation will assist in this regard."
John McMillan, the general secretary of the Rangers Supporters' Association said: "This will clear the air. The downside is that it will take some considerable time before we know the result of this, perhaps a year."
Duff & Phelps's David Whitehouse, the joint administrator, said: "We provided initial documentation to Strathclyde Police very shortly after our appointment ... and have had a number of conversations with the police since then.
"We have fulfilled all our obligations in keeping relevant authorities informed of any developments pertinent to their jurisdictions."
Contextual targeting label: