Businessman Gets Life Term for Hijack Hoax on Jet Airways Plane

Is all really fair in love and war? Not for Mumbai-based businessman and jeweller Birju Kishore Salla, who had, in October 2017, planted a fake note to trigger a bomb scare on a Jet Airways flight only to have his girlfriend stay in his city.

Salla, as a result of this, was sentenced to life imprisonment and levied a hefty fine of Rs 5 crore by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, 11 June.

On 30 October 2017, Salla planted a note in the washroom of the Delhi-bound Jet Airways Flight 9W339, which claimed that there were hijackers and a bomb aboard. The note prompted the pilot to make an emergency landing in Ahmedabad after the crew informed him of the note’s contents.

The plane had 115 passengers and seven crew members aboard.

After his arrest, Salla confessed that he had planted the note hoping that the bomb scare would lead to Jet Airways closing its offices in New Delhi, and his girlfriend, who worked for the airline, could return to Mumbai.

The case was handed to the NIA, which filed a charge sheet against Salla on 23 January 2018.

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Court Orders Compensation To Be Paid To Flight Crew

The court has ordered that the fine be paid to the airline staff which was affected by the hijack hoax.

The court has directed Salla to pay the pilot and co-pilot of Flight 9W339 Rs 1 lakh each. The court has also ordered that Rs 50,000 be paid to two flight attendants, and Rs 25,000 to each of the other crew members who were on the plane that day. 

According to the probe conducted by the NIA, Salla travelled business class in the Jet Airways flight that day. He planted the note containing the fake threat in a tissue box inside the washroom near the business class seats.

The note was printed in Urdu and English and asked the plane to be flown directly to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). It was the reference to PoK that made investigators suspicious as Pakistan-based terrorists call it ‘Azad Kashmir’.

Salla is a multi-millionaire jeweller based out of the Zaveri Bazaar area of Mumbai. He was booked and convicted under the new Anti-Hijacking Act 2016, under Sections 3(1), 3(2)(a) and 4(b) after a case was registered against him on 7 November 2017.

Salla is also the first person to have been added to the National No Fly list by the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) in May 2018.

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