What can be termed as a love story gone wrong, a love-sick businessman from Mumbai has become the first entry on the ‘National No Fly List’ after he tried to maneuver his relationship by creating a hijack scare on board a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight last year.
Eight months after the the Civil Aviation Ministry had asked airlines to create the ‘no fly list’, Birju Kishore Salla, who was arrested in October last year, has become the first person to be put on the list.
Incidentally, the Mumbai-based jeweller is also the first to be booked under the stringent Anti-Hijacking Act which had replaced the vintage law of 1982.
“Mr Salla, the guy who had created the hijack scare in a Jet Airways flight last year, is the first person to be put on the no fly list,” a senior DGCA official said confirming the development.
Salla, who is a multi-millionaire jeweller with an office in the Zaveri Bazar area of Mumbai and a flat in a posh locality of the metropolis, had placed a note stating that there were hijackers and a bomb in the cargo area.
He had confessed to preparing the note, hoping the threat could make Jet Airways close operation in Delhi and his girlfriend, who works in the airlines Delhi office, comes back to Mumbai.
According to the crime branch, the note was a printed note in Urdu and English, asking that the plane be flown straight to POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). It ended with the words, “Allah is Great”.
The reference to POK made investigators suspicious because Pakistan-based terrorists call the area ‘Azad Kashmir’.
In October 2017, the 37-year-old Birju Kishore Salla was arrested by the crime branch following the emergency landing made by the Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways plane at the Ahmedabad airport after the pilot was alerted about a note about hijackers and a bomb which was found in the plane’s washroom by a cabin crew.
The then Union Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, had advised airlines to put him on the no-fly list, in addition to other statutory criminal action.
Under the revised civil aviation requirement (CAR), a passenger can be considered to be placed under three categories of unruly behaviour, with category three bearing the harshest punishment.
Three categories define unruly behaviour – Level 1 – unruly behaviour (verbal), Level 2 – physical behaviour and Level 3 – life-threatening behaviour.
Salla has been placed under the third category.
It says that if a passenger’s behaviour is considered life threatening like affecting the safety of the aircraft then he or she can be banned for up to two years or more.
Unruly behaviour is probed by an internal committee set up by every domestic airline under the chairmanship of a retired District and Sessions judge.
Its members are from different scheduled airlines and passenger associations, consumer associations and retired officials of the consumer dispute redressal forum.
According to the DGCA, it is the responsibility of Jet Airways now to inform other airlines about the grounding of this particular passenger under the CAR. The DGCA will continue to maintain database of such passengers.
(With agency inputs)