By Stacey Leasca
June 12, 2019
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In 2017, Mumbai-based businessman Birju Salla hatched a plan to get his ex-girlfriend back that involved a hoax hijaking. And now, that not-so-well-thought-out plan has landed him in jail. For life.

Two years ago, Salla left a hand-written bomb threat on a Jet Airways flight that his ex-girlfriend was working on. The note claimed there was also a group of hijackers on board, TravelMole reported.

The flight landed safely and without incident in Ahmedabad. But, upon landing, Salla was detained for his actions. He later confessed to his crimes and told investigators the note was all a ruse that he hoped would force Jet Airways to close its Delhi operation so that his girlfriend, who worked in the airline's Delhi office, would come back to Mumbai to be with him.

But now, Salla is without his girlfriend and is also sentenced to life in prison for his lovesick crime. He also became the first person on India’s no-fly list.

“I am yet to read the full judgment. Of course, we will go in appeal against the verdict,” his lawyer, Rohit Verma, told Times of India. “But you must understand that there are only two kinds of punishment under the new anti-hijacking law — life imprisonment until death or a death sentence. If a hostage is killed, the punishment is death. In lesser circumstances the sentence is life. So the judge had only these two options. Also, there is a provision of fine, and of confiscating moveable and immovable properties. Salla’s assets, which he had on his person, like his cellphone, credit cards, and Rs 4 lakh [400,000 Indian Rupee] in cash, were confiscated. The judge has not said anything about his immovable assets.”

As a cruel twist, it turns out Salla didn’t need to fake a bomb threat as the airline shut down anyway in April of 2019 after running out of money.

"Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going," the airline said in a statement. "Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights.”

There are talks of investors reviving the airline, however, no concrete plans have been made, meaning Salla’s plan was all for naught.

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