February 8, 2009 1:30:59 am
Jitender Mohla,the 42-year-old chartered accountant accused of triggering a hijack scare in an Indigo Airlines flight on Sunday,has failed to get bail. The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act,under which Mohla faces a life term,proved to be his biggest hurdle in getting relief.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) R K Goel dismissed his bail plea saying,Keeping in view the gravity and the seriousness of the offence,at this stage no ground for bail is made out.
The four-page bail order discussed at length the Civil Aviation Act and based its decision on the statutes provisions pertaining to bail,while raising no objections as to why the penal section that had till date been used only in real hijack cases was invoked in the present matter.
The court noted that a person booked under the said statute could be released on bail only if the there were reasonable grounds to believe that he was not guilty of such offence and that he was not likely to commit any offence while on bail.
ACMM Goel,relying on the statement of the airhostess,who was allegedly threatened by Mohla,said,Keeping in view the statement of the cabin attendant and other circumstances,at this stage,it cannot be said that there are reasonable grounds that the accused has not committed the alleged offence.
It was also observed that the legislature had deliberately laid down strict provisions for granting bail in such cases so that they serve to deter troublemakers.
Mohlas plea regarding his clean antecedents and educational qualification also failed to cut ice.
The accused is not an illiterate person. He was well aware of his rights and duties to himself and also to the public at large, noted ACMM Goel,in the light of the prosecutions argument that NSG commandoes had to be rushed to the spot and the door of the aircraft could be opened only after two hours of its landing due to the panic caused by his acts.
Notably,as per the Code of Criminal Procedure,a person shall not be released on bail by a court other than a High Court or a Sessions Court if there appears reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
In the present case the magistrate was not,technically,empowered to enlarge Mohla on bail.
Mohla has been charged with the penal sections under the Civil Aviation Act and also under the IPC.
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