The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday said that it has made a significant breakthrough in the Pulwama suicide attack by identifying the car that was used in the bombing, tracing it to a Bijbehara resident who has since joined Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit that claimed responsibility for the attack. About 40 central reserve police force (CRPF) personnel were killed on February 14 when a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammad rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into their bus in Pulwama district.
"Piecing together remnants of the vehicle used by the suicide bomber, NIA investigators, with the support of forensic and automobile experts, have been able to identify the vehicle used in the attack," an NIA spokesman said in a statement.
The spokesman said the MarutiEeco vehicle was sold to Muhammad Jaleel Ahmed Haqani, a resident of Heaven colony, Anantnag, in 2011.
"It subsequently exchanged hands seven times and finally reached SajjadBhat son of Muhammad MaqboolBhat, a resident of Bijbehara, district Anantnag, who had acquired the vehicle on 4 February 2019," the statement said.
It said Sajjad was a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom in Shopain district.
"A raid was conducted by NIA team at his house with the help of J&K police on 23rd February. However, Sajjad was found not present in his house and thereafter has been evading arrest since then," reads the statement.
"He has reportedly now joined JeM. A photograph to this effect has also appeared in social media where Sajjad is seen holding weapon," the statement said.