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Jet Airways hijack scare: NIA files chargesheet against accused

Preliminary investigation said 37-year-old Salla, who was travelling business class, left the note in a toilet to frame an airhostess who had allegedly spurned his advances.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2018 21:25 IST
HT Correspondent
A Jet Airways passenger aircraft takes off from airport in Ahmedabad.
A Jet Airways passenger aircraft takes off from airport in Ahmedabad. (Reuters File Photo)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday charged 37-year-old Birju Salla, who allegedly left a note in the lavatory of a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight claiming the aircraft had been hijacked, invoking the tough Anti-Hijacking Act that may put the businessman in jail for life.

After the note, in English and Urdu, was discovered, the flight was diverted to Ahmedabad. A search showed there were no explosives on board or in the cargo hold. Initial investigations pointed the finger at Salla, a frequent flyer on Jet. Subsequently, questioning of the suspect revealed that Salla was angry with the airline. He was in a relationship with an airhostess of the airline, and believed that her work was preventing her from spending enough time with him – a feeling that translated into anger against the airline.

The note claimed the aircraft had 12 hijackers on board and that it should be flown straight to the PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir). It further claimed that the cargo area had bombs that would explode if the aircraft landed in Delhi.

Taking a tough stand in the case, the ministry of civil aviation asked the home ministry for a probe by the NIA.

“After investigation, it has been established that accused Birju Salla who travelled in the business class of the Jet Airways flight (No. 9W339) on October 30 last year, from Mumbai prepared a ‘threat note’ in ‘English’ and ‘Urdu’ language and he intentionally placed it in the tissue paper box of the toilet near the Business Class thereby jeopardizing the safety of the passengers and crew members on board,” said the NIA in a statement.

The agency said during probe it found sufficient oral, documentary, technical, forensic and material evidence to prove its case. During its investigation, the agency recovered a copy of the note from his computer. Salla had used Google Translate to translate the note into Urdu.

Read| First cockroach, now bomb threat: Man detained over Jet Airways flight hijack scare a repeat offender