The First Human Bomb: The Untold Dtory of the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Pub Date: 03/22/2009
Publication: Name: The Forensic Examiner Publisher: American College of Forensic Examiners Audience: Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Law; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 American College of Forensic Examiners ISSN: 1084-5569
Issue: Date: Spring, 2009 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 1
Topic: NamedWork: The First Human Bomb: The Untold Dtory of the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Sekharan, P. Chandra
Accession Number: 195323163
Full Text: "No observation is puerile or petty in forensic situations."

On May 21, 1991, a blast from a human bomb, or suicide bomber, killed Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally. This would be the first of its kind. As the principal scientific investigator, respected forensic scientist P. Chandra Sekharan has compiled a compelling story of the investigation into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

The 2008 book furnishes details of sophistication and expertise that went into the first human bomb and brings out the gamut of techniques and skills that went into the forensic analysis and crime scene reconstruction. While Sekharan narrates his findings during the first few frenetic days as a day-by-day account, related scientific information is also interwoven.

A section of the book focuses on the forensic techniques used in identifying the assassin and associates from their skulls, head models, and photographic evidence. Particular attention is paid to the definitions and characteristics of explosives that play a key role in terrorists' activities. The book includes almost all the text, photographs, and illustrations that formed part of the original 176-page report Sekharan prepared for the case.

The FirstHuman Bomb reads like a piece of historical fiction, although in this case, the story is very much true. Dr. Sekharan has created a book that offers itself as an interesting read for the general book lover, as well as providing an additional source of information for the forensic community.


P. Chandra Sekharan, PhD, FACFEI, DABFE, has 45 years of experience in consultacy, teaching, research and training in the field of forensic science. He has delivered lectures, key note addresses, and presented papers in several national and international seminars, conferences, and workshops. He is a Life Fellow of the American College of Forensic Examiners and has been a member since 1997.
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