The breakthrough in the search for the missing container truck involved in the accident that killed State Environment Minister Mariyam Pitchai on May 23 came after the Andhra Pradesh police identified a truck from the photographs of four vehicles sent to them by the Crime Branch-CID of Tamil Nadu.

According to a senior officer with the CB-CID, specific information was sent to police departments in other States, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry, to track vehicles that had come there from Tamil Nadu. Over 800 vehicles were inspected in five days after the photographs and details obtained from check posts close to the accident spot were mailed to the State CIDs.

Sources with an investigating team told The Hindu that the breakthrough came when the Andhra Pradesh CID identified a truck from the photographs of four vehicles.

“An AP police team traced the driver of the vehicle, Rahamathullah, to Vijayawada early on Monday and found out that the vehicle involved in the accident had headed to Assam with its owner Imam Sahib behind the wheel,” an investigating officer added.

On May 22, Rahamathullah had loaded gypsum from the Tuticorin port and was heading to Vijayawada. The accident took place at Thiruvalakurichi the next day.

He left for Vijayawada, unloaded the gypsum and handed over the vehicle to Imam, police sources said.

After obtaining Rahamathullah's statement, details of the truck were sent to the West Bengal police, which intercepted the vehicle with Imam at Kharagpur on Monday afternoon.

A CB-CID team has left for West Bengal to bring Imam and the truck to Chennai for investigation, the sources added.

Additional Director General of Police, CB-CID, Archana Ramasundaram had inspected the accident spot near Padalur a few days ago besides examining the car, which was completely damaged in the accident.

The ADGP supervised various aspects of investigation. Even while launching a search for the missing vehicle, officers of the investigating agency examined witnesses, besides inspecting the scene of crime along with forensic experts and Motor Vehicle Maintenance Department officials.