A hijack hoax sentence in India has been deemed by some as too harsh, as the Indian man convicted in the crime has been sent to jail for life.
The hijack hoax sentence follows a 2009 incident involving 45-year-old Jitender Kumar Mohla on an an IndiGo Airlines flight in February 2009. Mohla is said to have threatened the passengers and crew on the IndiGo plane, saying he had armed himself with infected needles and a gun for reasons that remain unclear to this day.
A news report indicates that the hijack hoax sentence was sparked by an incident that created significant headaches for crew and passengers on the plane and required extensive on-the-ground follow-up after the plane was diverted.
“Mohla was convicted last week on charges of endangering the safety of others and intimidating the pilot and crew while the aircraft, which was headed from western Goa state to Delhi, was mid-air with around 160 passengers on board … The threat created panic among the passengers and prompted the pilot to send a hijack alert … The plane made an emergency landing at New Delhi’s airport, where it was kept in isolation for two hours until security personnel confirmed that Mohla was unarmed. It remains unclear why he made the threats.”
After Mohla’s controversial hijack hoax sentence was handed down last week, a judge said the country was adopting a “zero tolerance” approach to such actions aboard aircraft.
Since the 2009 hijack hoax, the suspect has been in prison and attempts he has made at bail have all been denied.
In addition to the life term in the hijack hoax sentence, Mohla was ordered to pay a fine equivalent to $130.