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Rare, severe Act slapped against accused

india Updated: May 05, 2009 01:39 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
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Crime Branch officials seem to have been thumbing through the law books.

The Crime Branch has invoked a lesser known but stringent Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act to strengthen its case against the two men accused of allegedly sabotaging industrialist Anil Ambani’s helicopter.

Employees of Air Works Engineering India, an aircraft maintenance firm, Uday Warekar and Palraj Thever were arrested on Sunday for allegedly dropping pebbles and gravel in the gearbox of Ambani’s helicopter on April 23.

If found guilty, the two could face life imprisonment.

On Monday, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said Warekar and Thever have been booked under Section 3, sub-section 1 (corollary) of the Act.

The Act usually pertains to offences such as violence committed on board during a flight. However, the sub-section (corollary) of the Act calls for life imprisonment for person/s who intentionally places a device or substance that is likely to damage the aircraft or endanger the safety of the aircraft in flight.

Maria said the Airport police had initially registered a case under Section 440 of the Indian Penal Code — that is mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt — which entailed a maximum of five years in jail and a fine.

“The IPC section is cognisable, bailable and non-compoundable in nature. However, keeping in view the gravity of the offence the Crime Branch applied the more severe section,” Maria said.

He added that the IPC section would run in concurrence with the Act.

The Act came into force 10 years after India became signatory to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation.