Kenneth Haywood (44), the American whose wi-fi connection was hacked into and used to send a terror threat on July 26, minutes before bombs went off in Ahmedabad, denied he was ever a suspect in the investigation.
Haywood, who managed to leave the country on August 18 despite a lookout notice against him, returned to Mumbai late on September 10.
Joint Commissioner of Police Hemant Karkare said it was up to the Centre to take action against Haywood for violating the notice. “Central agencies are looking into the matter. If at all a case is made out, it will be with the Delhi Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office.”
Speaking to CNN-IBN on Thursday, Haywood said: “I was never a suspect. The Anti-Terrorist Squad cleared me in the very beginning. The ATS had nabbed the culprits before I left.” He added: “After I left, there were reports I had fled. I never fled. The fact that I have returned with my family proves my point.”
ATS officials were as taken aback by Haywood’s return to his home in Sanpada as they were by his exit. More so, when he voluntarily turned up at their office in Byculla on Thursday. They noted he was a far cry from the worried man they had questioned on July 26.
Later, Haywood, amused at the crowd of mediapersons outside, whipped out his camera-phone to photograph those photographing him. “Don’t you have any news today? Some real news?” he quipped.
His lawyer Gopal Hegde said Haywood had met the ATS to clarify he had never said that an officer had demanded a bribe from him, as was reported by a newspaper. Additional Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh confirmed Haywood had given a written statement to that effect and that they had no evidence against him. “He was a suspect, but he’s been cleared,” said Singh.
What happens now?
The case has hit a dead end. Haywood’s return has no ramification on the email probe. The ATS believes there will be progress only when it nabs SIMI activist Abdul Subhan Qureshi.