Arrested passenger apologises over ‘hijack’ tweet on Dubai-Jaipur flight

Police in Delhi warn of strict action against offenders who cause panic

A passenger on a spice jet flight was arrested after tweeting that the plane had been hijacked. Photo: Bloomberg
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A software engineer who was arrested at an Indian airport after tweeting that his plane had been hijacked has apologised and said he used the term in error.

Delhi Police said Moti Singh Rathore, who works for a technology company in Dubai, faces at least three charges, including intent to cause alarm and fear.

Mr Rathore was travelling on a Spice Jet flight from Dubai to Jaipur on Wednesday that was diverted to Delhi owing to bad weather.

The flight was grounded at New Delhi airport for several hours on Wednesday morning and given clearance to depart in the afternoon.

Police arrested Mr Rathore after he tweeted “SG 58 Dubai to Jaipur high jacked” and tagged India’s federal minister for civil aviation.

“This is a very serious offence and exemplary action needs to be taken so this does not happen again,” a Delhi police officer told The National.

“He was on the plane when he sent out the tweet. The plane had been grounded for four to five hours because of bad weather.

“He said he tweeted this out of frustration.

“We have registered a case and arrested the man. An investigation is on.”

In subsequent Twitter posts, Mr Rathore has apologised and blamed a poor command of English for the message.

A resident of Rajasthan in western India, Mr Rathore said he was angry and meant to say that the flight was delayed.

Police said he faced charges including intent to cause fear and alarm to the public, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication.

Both Spice Jet and Mr Rathore have been contacted for comment.

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Updated: January 29, 2023, 12:11 PM