90 Days by Anirudhya Mitra – Book Review

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 I was 6. No knowledge of news, or politics, but it stuck to my memory like a stubborn stain that something happened to someone who was a ruler. There was a bomb blast, there was someone who bent down, and there are arrests, but what was the matter? It took me years to know what it was. The blood-chilling murder of Rajiv Gandhi. The massacre shook the nation and the incident changed the political scenario. 90 days by Anirudhya  Mitra is an account of the detailed anecdotes of everything that transpired during the investigation of the Rajiv Gandhi Massacre. 

90 days

90 Days

Anirudhya was a newbie in India Today and was assigned the task of reporting the investigation of the Rajiv Gandhi Massacre.  Despite being a newbie in India Today, he is no rookie because he has taken out his A game in the daily news but when it comes to a weekly or fortnightly, by the time his findings come to light the acceptability of the news would have worn out as it is old news. But nothing could discourage him as he knocks on all doors and leaves no stone unturned. So he uses his sources in the Special Investigation Team (SIT), CBI, and Intelligence Bureau(IB).

The characters

Though real, the characters in the book are introduced in a systematic fashion so that the readers could come back and refer anytime. Since there are too many people among the assassins and the investigation team, this list comes in handy though the author has streamlined the plot in such a way that the readers are in the loop. 

The investigation

It is an awe-inspiring account of how the investigators patiently tracked the culprits, nabbed them, and made them confess the crime. At the same time, they used these culprits to nab the big fish. How Sivarasan has stayed elusive and fooled the investigators but they never lost hope and continued their attempts. It is an inspiration to everyone who is ready to give up at the drop of a hat.

The sensationalized journalism

Anirudhya’s first article was blamed as sensationalized journalism and it is endearing to see as the plot unfolds, whatever he has written comes true. The book has indeed an element of sensationalism. Nonetheless, this one-of-a-kind book that talks about the reality of nabbing the culprits and the larger picture of conspiracy is a brave attempt. For the current generation who has heard of the incident and are not privy of what exactly transpired, the book is a holy grail of Indian history.

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At 10.20 p.m. on 21 May 1991, a young woman bowed before Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally in Sriperumbudur, 42 km north of Chennai. And then there was an explosion.

This book is the definitive account of one of the most controversial crimes in contemporary India. It unravels the complex plot hatched by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to ensure that Rajiv Gandhi did not return to power in the 1991 general elections.

Ninety Days provides a blow-by-blow account of how the Special Investigation Team of the CBI cracked the assassination plot, identified the assassins, and chased the mastermind, Sivarasan, to his final hideout. The deaths from cyanide consumption of the members of the hit squad left several unanswered questions in their wake, which this book explores.

About the author

Anirudhya Mitra is a journalist and filmmaker. During a successful stint (1982-93) of news reporting in The Times of India and India Today, he broke several stories, including the Bofors scam, Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, drug wars in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, money laundering by the BCCI bank that led to its closure, corruption in the judiciary, the life and times of Indian-model-turned-spy Pamela Bordes, godman Chandraswamy and others. He moved to writing and creating television drama series with UTV in Mumbai in 1994 and also wrote and produced movies in South East Asia.

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