New Delhi: As the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probes the first case under the amended Anti-Hijacking Act, the civil aviation ministry plans to delegate certain powers under the stringent law to the home ministry, according to a government official.
Once the powers are delegated, the home ministry would not have to refer every case with respect to issuing notification for designating an investigation officer under the Act, the official at the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) said.
The incident of a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight making an emergency landing at Ahmedabad airport on 30 October following a hijack threat is the first case to be taken up under the amended act. NIA, that comes under the home ministry, is probing the case of an individual who has been detained for allegedly planting a note about hijackers and a bomb in the toilet of the Jet Airways flight.
The official said there are plans to delegate certain powers under the Act to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). This law comes under the civil aviation ministry and only it can issue notifications pertaining to the Act. Through an executive order, the ministry can delegate powers under the Act to the home ministry, the official noted.
On 7 November, the civil aviation ministry issued a notification authorising the NIA to carry out probe in the Jet Airways incident. “... the central government hereby confers on Shri Vikram Khalate, Superintendent of Police, NIA, Mumbai, the powers of arrest, investigation and prosecution exercisable by a police officer under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973" in relation to the case under the Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016, the notification had said.
A Jet Airways flight 9W 339 that had taken off from Mumbai with 115 passengers and seven crew members was diverted to Ahmedabad airport around 3.45 am on 30 October. The note, allegedly placed by Mumbai-based Gujarati jeweller Birju Kishore Salla, stated that there were hijackers and a bomb in the cargo area, officials had said.