Published on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Passengers and crew to get share of hijack hoax fine

A businessman has been given a life sentence after a hijack hoax on Indian airline Jet Airways, where his girlfriend worked as a flight attendant. He was also ordered to pay a massive fine, which will be shared amongst the passengers and crew of the flight he disrupted.

Mumbai-based Birju Salla wrote on a box of tissues in the aircraft toilet warning that there were hijackers and explosives onboard the flight from Mumbai to Delhi. His hope was that this would lead the airline to close down so his girlfriend, who worked in the airline's Delhi office, could return to him in Mumbai.

The note asked the plane to be flown into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. It ended with the words 'Allah is Great'.

Salla was arrested after the plane made an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport after a female flight attendant found the note in the toilet.

He later became the first person added to India's 'no-fly' list and the first to be charged under the 2016 Anti-Hijacking Act for the hoax on October 30, 2017.

He was handed a life sentence by a special court in Ahmedabad this week and also ordered to pay a massive fine, which the court will collect and distribute to the crew and passengers. The pilots will receive Rs 100,000 each (about £1,132), each of the crew about £566 and each of the 116 passengers £283.

Jet Airways has since grounded all of its flights due to financial difficulties.

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