Jet Airways hijacking threat: NIA court awards life imprisonment to accused

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Ahmedabad: A special NIA Court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday sentenced a Mumbai-based businessman to life imprisonment and imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore for threatening to hijack a Jet Airways flight.

Pronouncing the judgment, the NIA court sentenced accused Birju Kishor Salla to life imprisonment along with a fine of 5 crore for violation of different provisions of the Anti-Hijacking Act 2016.

Out of the fine amount, each pilot will get compensation of Rs one lakh, each airhostess will get Rs 50,000 and each passenger will be paid Rs 25,000 for misery undergone by them, the court ruled.

According to the case details, on October 30, 2017, Jet Airways Flight No. 9W-339 was headed towards Delhi from Mumbai. During the flight, an airhosts found a threat note in the washroom of the business class of the plane which stated that “There are hijackers on board and explosives on the plane”.

This threat was brought to the notice of the Captain of the flight who sought permission of Air Traffic Controller in Ahmedabad for an emergency landing.

Initially, the case was registered and investigated by Crime Branch, Ahmedabad and one passenger namely Birju Kishor Salla was arrested on suspicion.

The NIA re-registered the case under sections 3(1), 3(2)(a) and 4(b) of Anti Hijacking Act 2016 on November 7, 2017 and took over the investigation.

During the investigation, clinching evidence regarding preparation of the threat note and its placement on the plane was collected. It was further established that accused Birju Kishor Salla intentionally committed the act to disrupt the operation of aircraft (9W339 of Jet Airways) while on board.

He also jeopardized the safety of the passengers and crew members on board by an intentional act of putting printed threat letter inside the toilet of said aircraft.

On January 23, 2018, the chargesheet was filed in the NIA Special Court at Ahmedabad against the accused under sections 3(1), 3(2)(a) and 4(b) of Anti Hijacking Act 2016.

This was the first case registered under Anti Hijacking Act 2016 by NIA and has resulted in sentencing of the accused to life imprisonment and an exemplary fine of Rs 5 Crore.

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