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Saturday 7 February 2015

Red Handed 20 Criminal Cases That Shook India - Book Review

As the name suggests Red Handed 20 Criminal Cases that Shook India is about 20 most talked about cases in the media. Barring five cases which indeed shook India the rest of the cases covered in the book are the cases which were most talked about in the media. Those cases which provided the fodder for sensational news for TV channels.

Most of the times a common man does not know much about the facts of the case although he has heard something about it in the media. This book provides with all the details of the crimes committed in those sensational cases which we have been hearing about on the news channels.

The books covers the murder trials of Hetal Parekh, Priyadarshini Matto, Nitish Katara, Jessica Lal, Naina Sahni. It tells us about the outcome of economic offences like scams committed by Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parekh, Telgi, Jain Hawala case and graft case against former prime minister P V Narsimha Rao. The terrorist attack on Mumbai and the resulting Kasab Trial also forms part of the book. Rajiv Gandhi's assasination, Nithari killings, Best Bakery case, Parliament attack case, Sanjay Dutt's case and Auto Shankar's case are also analysed in the book. Landmark judgments on offences against women like Vishakha's case and Chandrima Das's case also find a mention in the book. The most interesting case in the book undoubtedly is that of Charles Shobraj. His modus operandi, his charming ways are entertaining.

The book is written for laymen and not legal experts. However at the same time the writer duo has mentioned that they have made efforts to make the references and descriptions of legal procedures simple for the lay readers. It is to be remembered that simplicity does not mean that you should provide incorrect information to the general public. The book is full of mistakes when it comes about the legal procedures. The writers have committed blunders by saying that in appeals trials are reopened, prosecution prepares complaints, warrants are issued by police, accused are referred to as defendants, investigating officer is said to be a part of judicial process, depositions are written by the police and payment of stamp duty means that the document is registered with the government. The common man is already ignorant about the law of the land which everybody is expected to know. The above blunders will only add to his confusion. Half knowledge is always dangerous. Wrong knowledge is disasterous.

Yes the authors have documented the facts of the cases very well. But the incorrect references to legal procedures leave a bad taste in mouth. Had they been taken care of the book would have gone a long way in educating the masses about the legal system of the country. But this book is an opportunity wasted.

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