Air scare: Family says man mentally unstable

Mursalin Sheikh sent to one-day judicial custody, cousin says he is undergoing treatment; police say he was in city to visit Nizamuddin.

A day after a 41-year-old car mechanic caused midair scare on board an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Delhi, the man was sentenced to judicial custody for just a day on the grounds that he was "mentally unstable".

Mursalin Sheikh's counsel submitted that he be given relief as he was mentally unstable and that there were medical records to prove it.

Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma sent Sheikh to Tihar Jail for a day and directed the police to verify the address of a person who volunteered to stand as surety for Sheikh's bail. His cousin Fahim said Sheikh is married and had developed the mental disorder "soon after marriage".

Sheikh had boarded the IndiGo flight IE 196 on Wednesday from Mumbai and later allegedly turned violent and assaulted the airline crew and co-passengers.

A resident of Gurgaon, Mohini Ganju, who was also traveling by the flight, told Newsline: "I was sitting diagonally opposite to the man. About half an hour after we boarded the flight, the man asked the airhostess where the washroom was. He went in and when he tried getting out, he perhaps got locked inside and began banging on the door. The crew opened the door from outside. His face and clothes were wet when he came out."

Sheikh had a window seat, the middle was vacant and there was another passenger on the aisle seat.

"He sat on his seat for a while and then suddenly began hitting the window. Then he sat on his knees, started to shout slogans and making faces. He turned around and stared at passengers seated behind him. A woman objected to this and asked him to sit down, but he continued to glare at her. Scared, the woman called the airhostess," Ganju said.

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