A Delhi court on Tuesday sentenced a chartered accountant to life imprisonment for creating a hijack scare on a Goa-Delhi flight in February 2009.
Holding 45-year-old Jitender Kumar Mohla guilty, District Judge IS Mehta said, "The accused (Mohla) is awarded life imprisonment under section 3(1)(d) of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation." The court also imposed a fine of Rs. 7,000 on him.
On February 1, 2009, Mohla had claimed aboard a Goa-Delhi Indigo airlines flight that he had hijacked the plane. He told the crew members that he was one of the accused in the infamous Kandahar hijacking and claimed to have needles with which he would 'infect' others if they resisted him.
The court convicted Mohla under Sections 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 170 (impersonating a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. Mohla has been in judicial custody since 2009.
Police had said Mohla's behaviour had forced the Indigo pilot to send a hijack alert, leading to a scare and panic at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. The plane made an emergency landing and was kept in isolation for two and a half hours after it was confirmed that the landing took place due to the unruly behaviour of Mohla.
The court said that every person on board a flight should observe certain 'standards of behaviour' as per the norms laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the DGCA as India is a signatory to the Montreal Convention.
While awarding Mohla life imprisonment, the court said, "The language of the Act 3(1)(d)...is very clear and does not require any external aid to its construction."