A Mumbai-based businessman was awarded life imprisonment along with a fine Rs 5 crore by special NIA court on Tuesday for creating a fake hijack scare onboard a Jet Airways plane in October 2017.
Birju Salla was accused of writing a threat note in English and Urdu and planting these in the tissue paper box of the aircraft’s toilet on October 30. Upon discovery of the notes, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport.
According to reports, NIA confirmed that Salla had jeopardized the safety of passengers and crew on board Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight 9W339 on October 30 by intentionally hiding the “threat notes” in the tissue paper box of the toilet near the business class.
The note, which ended with the words – Allah is Great, demanded the plane be flown into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
The note reportedly read, “Flight is covered by hijackers & aircraft should not be landed & flown straight to PoK. 12 people on board. If you put landing gear you will hear the noise of ppl dying…Cargo area contains explosives & will blast if you land in Delhi. Allah is great”.
As per NIA, note left by Salla: Flight is covered by hijackers & aircraft should not be landed & flown straight to PoK. 12 people on board. If you put landing gear you will hear noise of ppl dying…Cargo area contains explosives & will blast if you land in Delhi. Allah is great https://t.co/ymPQTHuFKQ
— Bharti Jain (@bhartijainTOI) June 11, 2019
As per the verdict by special NIA judge K M Dave, the fine amount paid by Salla would be distributed amongst the crew members and passengers who were present on board on board flight 9W339. The court has awarded compensation to pilot worth Rs 1 lakh, each airhostess Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 for each passenger.
The charge sheet against Salla was filed by NIA in January last year, under sections 3(1), 3(2)(a) and 4(b) of the Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016.
After the incident, Salla was put on “national no-fly list,” making him the first person to be featured on this list. He was also the first to be booked under the stringent Anti Hijacking Act, a modified version of the 1982 law.
According to his confession, Salla told investigators that he had created a hoax in the hope to force Jet Airways to close their Delhi operation and make way for his girlfriend, who was employed in the airline’s Delhi office, to return to Mumbai.