Thursday, June 13, 2019

Birju Salla conviction: He didn’t put gun to anyone’s head: Second wife's family

After businessman Birju Salla was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in Ahmedabad for a hoax hijack note, his second wife’s family said she is “shattered”.
Already married with two kids, Salla had also married a Jet Airways employee three months prior to leaving the hijack note in a Jet plane lavatory in October 2017. Her services were allegedly terminated after the incident.
Speaking to the media for the first time, she and her family have called the verdict “grossly unjust” and “wrongful conviction”. Meanwhile, Salla’s first wife in Mumbai was not contactable. “Rapists go scot-free in this country, terrorism is on the rise, and here an innocent man has been convicted for an alleged hoax, based on the statement of cabin crew that had an axe to grind,” the former employee’s sister, also a Jet employee, alleged while speaking to Mirror on condition of anonymity. “Injustice has been done. He hasn’t put a gun to someone’s head,” she said.
 A guest relationship manager with Jet before she was allegedly “fired”, Salla’s second wife was reportedly at the centre of the incident as the National Investigating Agency (NIA) had claimed that Salla had planted the note because he wanted her to quit her job, leave Delhi where she was living with her father, and stay with him in Mumbai. Her support assumes importance at this time as in her statement to the NIA she had claimed ignorance about Salla’s earlier marriage and kids.
 According to her statement to the NIA, the 37-year-old started working with Jet Airways in 2001. She rose through the ranks to become a guest relations executive in 2007-08. Her job was to attend to business class flyers. She met Salla in 2015 near the arrival area. Over the years, the two became close and married at Roseat Hotel near T3 of Delhi airport on July 19, 2017.
She claimed that the ceremony was attended by several of her Jet friends and his friends, giving specific details of the guest list. All you need to know about Birju Salla, the first man to be convicted under India's new Anti-Hijacking law Neither was the former Jet employee nor anyone else examined in court to establish the motive behind Salla’s act.
 Special Judge MK Dave accepted that no motive was proved, but held that it is was not a necessity in law as long as there was enough evidence of the crime. “We are going through hell. This is a very difficult time for all of us. He is a good and a kind man and doesn’t deserve this. He never asked my sister to leave her job; instead, he always encouraged her,” said the former employee’s sister. She said her sister doesn’t hold a grudge against Salla (for allegedly concealing his first marriage).
“She is with him. But he is inside so she can only meet and say ‘hi-hello’. She is as helpless as he is,” she said. The family further said that Salla was a frequent business class flier and was known to many crew members.
 “He was a platinum card holder; he loved flying Jet. But some cabin crew members hated him. He flew business class, so he pointed out if the services weren’t up to the mark. No one saw him put that note,” the sister said. ‘We can’t confirm if Jet employee was fired’
13/06/19 Sharmeen Hakim/Mumbai Mirror

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