Sunday, November 12, 2017

NIA to reconstruct hijack hoax at city airport

Ahmedabad: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the anti-hijacking case involving Birju Salla, a Mumbai-based bullion trader, will reconstruct the hijack hoax during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday at the Ahmedabad airport. The NIA has submitted a list of about seven officers and personnel who would need entry into the airport premises. These include DIG NIA Viplav Chaudheri and SP Vikram Khalate along with crime branch and special operations group officers ACP B C Solanki, ACP C N Rajput, inspector S L Chaudhary, and PSI N N Rabari.
Senior police sources said that for the reconstruction, the team would like to use the same plane in which the incident had taken place. "Forensic experts will also be at hand," a senior police official said. Top police sources said that the NIA, which has taken over the first case registered under the 2016 anti-hijacking law, on Saturday recorded the statements of two flight attendants — Shivani Malhotra and Nitika Juneja — and pilot of the plane, Jay Jariwala, at the crime branch office in Ahmedabad.
"Biju Salla, the only accused in the case, will be taken along for the reconstruction," a senior official said. "A bomb disposal team headed by sub-inspector B D Maru will be with us."
On October 30, a note was found in the washroom of Jet Airways Mumbai-Delhi flight 9W-339 which said that the flight was "covered by hijackers" and that it should be flown to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The note said that if an attempt was made to land the plane at the Delhi airport, explosives in the cargo section of the plane would go off.
"The letter was found in the tissue paper box by Juneja who informed Jariwala," a senior police official said. "Jariwala immediately informed the ATC and the plane was grounded at the Ahmedabad airport and taken to the isolation bay." The hijacking drama created panic among security agencies. After a two-hour search, the plane was declared safe. "Based on information gleaned from CCTV footage and the statement of the crew, Birju Salla, a Mumbai-based jeweller seated on seat 1 D of the flight, was picked up" an investigator said.
12/10/17 Sarfaz Shaikh/Times of India