Uncovering the Conspiracy:An Inside Look at the Investigation into the Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi
Ninety Days: The True Story of the Hunt for Rajiv Gandhi's Assassins
Author: Anirudhya Mitra Published by HarperCollins India
True Crime/Non Fiction
MRP: Rs. 599/-
Thank you Mr Anirudhya Mitra for the gifted copy of the book
In 90 Days, author Anirudhya Mitra, who was the on-ground reporter for the Rajiv Gandhi assasination case for India Today, (and whose story on the same went on to break the news about the LTTE’s involvement and in great detail) writes a detailed and thorough account of how the Special Investigation Team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) successfully uncovered the assassination plot, identified the assassins, and pursued the mastermind, Sivarasan. The author provides a step-by-step description of the investigative process, including all the challenges and obstacles faced by the team along the way.
The books is written in a narrative non-fiction manner and reads like an investigative thriller. I kid you not i had to message the author and reconfirm if a particular incident in the book was real or added for dramatic purposes, despite the Non-Fiction tag of the book.
Mitra, who was then a principal correspondent with India Today magazine, provides a step-by-step narrative of the investigation, shedding light on the work done by the CBI’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) to expose the conspiracy behind the killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and 18 others.
The author's access to contacts in the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau allowed him to reveal the hurdles and harassment that the SIT faced during the investigation. Despite the R&AW chief's initial insistence that "the LTTE was not behind the assassination," the SIT continued to pursue the case, eventually getting a lucky break from a photograph published in a newspaper of the suspected suicide bomber. From there, most of the arrests followed as a result of meticulous surveillance and careful planning by the SIT.
Mitra also gives credit to the NSG Captain, Ravindran, who successfully caught hold of one of the conspirators, the explosive expert and a member of LTTE’s intelligence wing, Murugan, before he could reach for his cyanide pill. Another assassin, Nalini, was also simultaneously overpowered. However, the SIT was not able to catch the key mastermind Sivarasan alive from his last hideout in Bangalore.
The book is not just a tribute to the SIT's work but also highlights the lapses in security and cooperation between the state police and the CBI during the investigation. Mitra also notes the anguish of the CBI sleuths with the director, Tamil Nadu FSL, who leaked the photo of the suspected suicide-bomber to the media without first sharing it with the SIT. The author also highlights the non-cooperation between the state police and the CBI on a few occasions during the investigation.
The author’s experience as a screenplay writer is clearly visible and the book seems like it can be easily adapted for screen. Im not sure if that was the intent, but it makes the book more engaging to read nonetheless.
Mitra's book is an intriguing piece of investigative journalism, marking respect to the stellar investigative work that will help future generations gain a deeper understanding of the events and the attempted cover-up that followed. It is undoubtedly a turning point in India's history, and Mitra's book sheds light on the painstaking work done by the SIT to uncover the conspiracy behind the assassination of a former prime minister. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in true crime and investigative journalism.
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