Ahmedabad: In the first conviction under the amended anti-hijacking law, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday sentenced a Mumbai-based businessman with a life term and a fine of Rs 5 crore for creating a hijack scare on a Mumbai-Delhi bound Jet Airways flight on October 30, 2017.
Convicting Birju Kishor Salla for violating provisions of the Anti-Hijacking Act 2016, the court, in its order, said that the fine amount would be used to compensate each pilot of the Jet Airways’ flight no-9W 339 with Rs 1 lakh, each air hostess with Rs 50,000 and each passenger with Rs 25,000 for the misery they underwent.
Salla was arrested by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) after a letter warning of a hijack and bomb threat was discovered on Mumbai-Delhi bound Jet Airways’ flight no-9W 339, which had 122 passengers, including seven crew, on board.
Following the scare, the flight had to be diverted to Ahmedabad and then grounded at the Ahmedabad airport. It was only after all passengers were disembarked and screened at a remote bay there that the flight was cleared for take-off.
The NIA took over the probe on November 7. During investigation, the NIA claimed that it found clinching evidence regarding preparation of the threat note and its placement on the plane.
The pilot had alerted the Ahmedabad airport authorities about the threat letter, reported to be in Urdu and English. The NIA said that Salla intentionally put the printed threat letter inside the toilet to disrupt the aircraft operation thus jeopardising the safety of the passengers and the crew members on board.
The NIA filed a charge sheet against Salla on January 23, 2018 in the NIA Court under several sections of Anti-Hijacking Act 2016.