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I am not anxious now that I am here: Haywood

Sep 11, 2008 08:13 PM IST India India

Mumbai: US national Kenneth Haywood, the man whose wi-fi connection was hacked to send the Ahmedabad terror email, is making news again, but this time for the right reasons. He has voluntarily returned to India after leaving the country a month ago despite a look out notice against him. Haywood spoke exclusively to CNN-IBN in his first interview to an Indian news network.

Haywood has returned from the US with family in tow, on early Thursday morning.

He cleared the air on many issues including allegations that he had fled India. He had been grilled for nearly three weeks by the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) and it was reported that he left despite red corner notices.

Haywood said he had not fled the country, but had only taken a short break to escape the constant scrutiny by the media.

"Firstly, as circumstances are, I have never been a suspect. My passport has always been in my possession. I have been cleared by the ATS and they had actually caught the real culprits before I left to go to the States. I didn't think there was any reason for me to be staying here. After we returned to the States, I started hearing from the press that we had run away. If that was the case, I would not have come back. I have brought my family with me. I am committed to Campbell White which is the company I work for over here. I am committed to complete my contract with them," Haywood stated.

Haywood also said he had visited the ATS office and was assured by officials that he had already been cleared of any involvement in the terror email case.

Additional Commissioner of Police ATS, Parambir Singh said, "We do not give a clean chit to any suspect. However, we have not found any evidence of his involvement in our investigation so far."

Asked whether he felt harassed by the intensity of the investigations or by the agency, Haywood said, "First of all, the police force has been completely straight, fair and actually quite helpful and friendly with me. They have been completely professional through the entire process and dedicated to the nation. Any allegations to the otherwise would be the press spinning it on their own."

When asked if he felt that he was being singled out for enquiry as it was his wi-fi account that was used, Haywood said that this kind of thing could happen to anybody.

"In this age of terrorism, one never knows. All I know is that it could happen to anybody who has a wi-fi connection. There are probably a million wi-fi connections in Mumbai and it could have been anybody," said Haywood.

Haywood wants to resume his work and put the problems away.

"They have given me the clean chit from the very beginning and there is no issue. I just want to get on with my business and building my coalitions. The investigating agencies are doing a great professional job," he added.

He did not feel apprehensive about returning to India despite having faced the heat of investigations.

"We are staying on. That's the plan. We are staying on. We love India. We love the people of India. We came here to try and make a difference," Haywood insisted.

"The police were only doing their job," said Haywood.

"It is a difficult situation. I do not compare my situation with people who are actually injured or killed by terrorists. It is a difficult situation for the police and for everyone else and I fully understand that," he concluded.