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Man talks about ‘hijacking’ over phone on board flight before take-off, arrested

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MUMBAI, June 23 (PTI): A 23-year-old male passenger on board Vistara’s Mumbai-Delhi flight was arrested after he was heard speaking over his phone about a “hijacking plan” shortly before the plane was to take off from the city airport, officials said on Friday.

The incident occurred around 6.30 pm on Thursday at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, they said.

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After a crew member and others around him heard his conversation, the passenger, hailing from Haryana, was deplaned and handed over to the security personnel. A thorough check of the aircraft was conducted and the flight later took off for Delhi with the rest of the passengers following a clearance by the authorities.

“The incident took place before the flight was to take off for Delhi around 7 pm. All the passengers were occupying their seats and the cabin crew members were engaged in their work,” a police official said.

“A member of the cabin crew and others heard the male passenger speak over his mobile phone. They heard him saying in Hindi – ‘Ahmedabad ka flight board karne wala hain. Koi bhi dikkat ho to mujhe call karna.’ (Will board a flight to Ahmedabad. Call me in case you face any difficulty),” he said.

The passenger also said, ‘Hijack ka sara planning hain. Uska sara access hain, chinta mat karna.’ (All planning for hijacking is done. Don’t worry as there is an access), according to the official.

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“After hearing his conversation, the passengers sitting nearby got scared and many of them stood up. The cabin crew member called in the security staff of the flight and the passenger was handed over to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),” he said.

The passenger, who was later identified as Ritesh Juneja, was taken to the Sahar police station and based on the complaint lodged by the 27-year-old cabin crew member, an offence was registered against him, he said.

It has come to light that the accused is mentally unstable and has been undergoing medical treatment since 2021, he said.

A first information report (FIR) under section 336 (rash or negligent act that endangers human life or the personal safety of others) and 505 (2) (making statement with intent to cause fear or alarm among people) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against the passenger, he said.

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A spokesperson of Vistara airline said in a statement, “We confirm that there was an incident concerning an unruly passenger on Vistara flight UK 996 scheduled to operate from Mumbai to Delhi on 22 June 2023 at 1830 hrs.”

In line with the guidelines and our standard operating procedures (SOPs), relevant authorities were immediately informed and the said customer was handed over to them. A thorough check was conducted and the flight took off with the rest of the customers after clearance, the statement said.

“We are fully cooperating with the security agencies in the investigation. Vistara stands firm with its zero-tolerance policy against unruly behaviour that endangers the safety and security of its customers and staff,” it added.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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