Businessman who forced an Indian passenger jet to make an emergency landing by leaving a note falsely claiming there were bombs on board is jailed for life and fined $1million
- Diamond trader Birju Kishor Salla left the fake bomb and plane hijacking threat
- The Indian businessman, 38, from Mumbai, wrote that the plane should not land
- He was sentenced to life in prison and given a $1 million fine for leaving the note
An Indian businessman has been jailed for life and fined $1 million after he forced a plane to make an emergency landing by leaving a note in the toilet claiming that there were bombs and hijackers on board.
Diamond trader Birju Kishor Salla, 38 from Mumbai, was arrested and charged for posing a threat to the safety of passengers and crew on a Jet Airways flight in 2017.
The plane was travelling from Mumbai to New Delhi and Salla left the note on a tissue box, where it was discovered by a female flight attendant.
Salla walked free from the flight, but authorities traced the note to him last year, and he was charged with attempting to seize control of an aircraft and for making threats.
Diamond trader Birju Kishor Salla, 38 from Mumbai, was arrested and charged for posing a threat to the safety of passengers and crew on a Jet Airways flight in 2017
India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in a statement: ‘A female flight attendant found a threat note in the washroom of the business class of the plane which stated that, ”There are hijackers on board and explosives on the plane”.’
In the note, Salla wrote: ‘Flight No. 9W 339 is covered by hijackers and aircraft should not be land and flown straight to POK.’
POK referrs to the Pakistan-occupied region of Kashmir, a source of tension between India and its neighbours.
The plane’s captain Jay Jariwala was shown the note and his ‘face tightened’.
However, he was able to make a safe emergency landing ‘without causing panic among passengers’.
He later said: ‘An incident of this kind had never happened to me.
‘There are guidelines we have to follow when there is any incident involving the safety of the aircraft, the passengers and the crew. We just followed procedures.
‘We couldn’t let the passengers know about the specific threat, We only announced that for security reasons we were diverting the fight to Ahmedabad.’
Salla was sentenced to life in prison and fined 50 million rupees for the offence, in a case registered soon after the introduction of an anti-hijacking law in India.
The law imposed much stronger sentences for hijacking as well as attempts or threats to hijack, including the death penalty.
The NIA said that the money would be given to the crew and passengers as compensation for their ‘misery’.
An official told the Times of India: ‘Even though Salla did not actually commit the act of hijacking, that he intentionally planted a letter threatening that 12 hijackers, one of them being himself, were on board and that there were explosives in the cargo area, qualifies as a hijack threat and attempt.
‘He was masquerading as a hijacker. The conviction and life sentence should serve as a major deterrent to those who indulge in such hijack scares for the heck of it.’