Life imprisonment for Mumbai man who created hijack scare

In the first conviction under the amended anti-hijacking law, a special NIA court Tuesday awarded life term to a Mumbai-based businessman and also imposed a hefty Rs 5 crore fine for triggering a hijack scare on a Jet Airways plane in 2017.

After the incident on October 30, 2017, Birju Salla became the first person to be put under the “national no fly list” and was also the first to be booked under the stringent Anti Hijacking Act, which had replaced a vintage law of 1982. The new anti-hijack rules came into force in July 2017.

Holding Salla guilty of creating a hijack scare, the court of special National Investigating Agency(NIA) judge K M Dave ordered that the fine amount to be given by Salla be distributed among the crew members and passengers on board the plane.

Salla was accused of creating a hijack scare by planting a threat note written in English and Urdu in the tissue paper box of the aircraft’s toilet.

The pilot and co-pilot of the flight will be given Rs 1 lakh each, the flight attendants will be given Rs 50,000 each, and 116 passengers on the flight will be given Rs 25,000 each from the fine collected from Salla, the court said.

The NIA had in January last year filed a charge sheet against him under sections 3(1), 3(2)(a) and 4(b) of the Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016.

The NIA had said Salla prepared a “threat note” in both English and Urdu language and placed it “intentionally” in the tissue paper box of the toilet near the business class of the Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight 9W339 on October 30, thereby jeopardising the safety of passengers and crew on board. Salla was arrested after the plane made an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport after a female flight attendant found the note in the washroom which read, “there are hijackers on board and explosives on the plane”.