Man behind hijack scare gets life term

FP

The chartered accountant who triggered a mid-air hijack scare on a Goa-Delhi IndiGo flight in February 2009 was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday.

District Judge I S Mehta said considering lives were at stake, "what is required is zero tolerance on board".

Jitender Kumar Mohla, 45, had been convicted last week of endangering lives, criminal intimidation and impersonating a public servant. For these offences, he was given jail terms which were set off against the period spent by him behind bars since February 2, 2009. He was also fined Rs 7,000.

Mohla had entered the cockpit and claimed to have hijacked the plane. He had claimed to be an accused in the Kandahar hijacking case, and said he was carrying needles to "infect" anyone who tried to stop him.

Judge Mehta said, "Act 3(1)(d) (of The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act)... is very clear... The plain language... shows that the convict is to be awarded life imprisonment."

The judgment said Mohla was aware that his "terrifying act" endangered the safety of 160 passengers and crew on board.

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