NEW DELHI: A millionaire jeweler from Mumbai has been arrested for allegedly planting a note threatening a bomb and a hijack in the toilet of a Jet Airways flight, all because he wanted his girlfriend to quit the airline and live with him. Birju Kishore Salla, a frequent flyer, is the first to be arrested under a tough new anti-hijacking law which carries a maximum punishment of life in jail. His property can be seized under the law.
“We have arrested him under the Anti-Hijacking Act sections. This is the first arrest under the Act after it came into force,” Joint Commissioner of Police JK Bhatt told reporters.
Salla’s motive appears bizarre. He has reportedly told the police that he planted the threatening note so that Jet Airways could shut down and his girlfriend in the Delhi-based office of the airline would quit her job and to stay with him in Mumbai.
Salla is a multi-millionaire who has an apartment in an upscale part of Mumbai, the police learnt during his questioning. “He is originally from Dedan village of Gujarat’s Amreli district,” said Mr Bhatt.
Last year, Salla, who calls himself a platinum flyer, had allegedly carried a cockroach with him on a Jet Airways flight and then complained that he had found the bug in his business class meal. A news report quoted him as saying that “all that the crew could offer was a replacement meal.” Jet Airways put out a statement saying Salla had never complained of uneasiness to the crew but his complaint had been taken up with the caterer.
Mr Bhatt said: “We are investigating if he is in contact with any other anti-social groups. We have not found any other offence against him.”
The police are in touch with the anti-terror National Investigation Agency, which may take over the case if the central government wants.
On Monday morning, the Jet Airways flight 9W339 took off a little before 3 am from Mumbai and was soon diverted to Ahmedabad after an air-hostess found the printed note in Urdu and English in a washroom.