Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Hijack Hoax: Why Mumbai Bizman’s Sentencing Sets New Precedent for Air Travel Safety Violations

New Delhi: The life sentencing of Mumbai businessman Birju Salla for placing a hoax hijack note on a Jet Airways plane to force his girlfriend to shift to Mumbai from Delhi as the first trial under India’s Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016, has set a new precedent for air travel safety violations.

Salla was sentenced to life imprisonment and was slapped with a fine of Rs 5 crore by a special NIA court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday for leaving the hijack note in Urdu and English in a tissue paper box of the toilet on a Mumbai-Delhi flight on October 30, 2017.
He asked the plane to be flown into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to force the Jet Airways to shut operations in Delhi that would free his girlfriend who worked in the now-defunct airline’s Delhi office and let her come back to Mumbai.

The Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016, passed under the first Narendra Modi government to repeal and replace a dated 1982 law on the same, considers hoax hijack calls a serious punishable offence.

According to the government, the 1982 law failed to comprehensively define hijacking by not including any attempt to seize control of an aircraft using “any technological means” and without the hijacker’s actual on-board presence. The new Act addressed these issues.

The Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2014, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in December that year by the then minister of civil aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
12/06/19 Aditya Sharma/
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