The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday filed the chargesheet against Mumbai-based businessman Birju Salla, 37, who allegedly faked the “plane hijacking threat” midair in October last year while travelling business class in a Jet airways flight.
The NIA said that Salla’s act “jeopardised the safety of the passengers and crew members on board”. The agency has claimed in the press release “…it has been established that accused Birju Salla, who travelled in the business class of the Jet Airways flight No. 9W339 on 30/10/2017, 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 jeopardised the safety of the passengers and crew members on board.”
The release says that the oral, documentary, technical, forensic and material evidence has been collected by the agency against the accused who has been charged under various sections of the Anti-Hijacking Act 2016. Section 3 (1) of the act states: “Whoever unlawfully and intentionally seizes or exercises control of an aircraft in service by force or threat thereof, or by coercion, or by any other form of intimidation, or by any technological means, commits the offence of hijacking and 3 (2) (a) explains that “A person shall also be deemed to have committed the offence of hijacking specified in sub-section (1), if, such person — (a) makes a threat to commit such offence or unlawfully and intentionally causes any person to receive such threat under circumstances which indicate that the threat is credible.” If Salla is convicted, he could get life imprisonment.
The NIA has taken over the case from the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch which arrested Salla first. The Crime Branch officials had found that Salla had an affair with a crew member who allegedly ditched her. “In order to seek revenge, he made up the whole story of hijacking merely to defame the airline.” About two years ago, Salla had complained about the airline’s food in which cockroach was found. He was reported to have fallen sick after having the meal on board. Police said that he maintained the report was genuine.
Crime Branch officials have found that a crew member had informed that Salla was the first person to have used the toilet from where a chit on which hijacking threat was scribbled was found. The chit was hidden in the toilet paper box. Police said that when another passenger couldn’t take out the toilet paper he complained it to the crew member. It was only then that the chit was found.
Police said that the threat of hijacking was written in Urdu and English and after examination, it was found that Urdu was written using Google translation application. Salla was deplaned and taken to Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch office where he was questioned. Salla continues to be in jail after his bail pleas were rejected. Last week, he withdrew his bail petition from the Gujarat High Court.