A Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Uttar Pradesh who holds the ceremonial rank of a minister on Wednesday expressed his support for two men accused of firing at All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi, NDTV reported.

The leader, Sunil Bharala, assured the families of the accused men – Sachin Sharma and Shubham – of a “fair probe” into the matter. Bharala is the chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh labour welfare board.

On Wednesday, he visited Sharma’s family and expressed support for both the accused men.

“We are with the families of Sachin Sharma and Shubham in every way,” Bharala said on Twitter. “We will extend complete co-operation to them. The matter will be investigated impartially.”

Bharala claimed that Sharma was innocent and had been framed in the case, according to News Nation. “His family has suffered injustice, and we will investigate the matter,” he said. “The investigation will make everything clear.”

The BJP leader also claimed that Owaisi had been abusing Hindus. “He has been warning Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Adityanath and saying that if they get the police out of the way, he will see,” he claimed. “This seems like his [Owaisi’s] conspiracy.”

Bharala, however, did not say when or where Owaisi allegedly made such a statement.

Both Sharma and Shubham are currently in judicial custody. While Sharma reportedly has an earlier attempt to murder case against him, Shubham does not have any criminal record.

On February 3, Owaisi had said that two people fired three to four rounds of bullets at his vehicle in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur city. No one was injured in the attack.

The attack took place while Owaisi was returning to New Delhi after campaigning in Meerut. Two phases of the the Uttar Pradesh elections have been completed and five more phases remain. The results will be out on March 10.

After the attack, Owaisi was offered Z category security but he refused to accept it. The category is the second-highest level of security cover in the country. It is provided by armed commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force.

On February 7, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had urged Owaisi to accept the security and to “put all our apprehensions to rest”.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader, while speaking in the Lok Sabha on February 4, said, “Treat me like ‘A’ class citizen, don’t give me ‘Z’ class security. The public of Uttar Pradesh will answer people who shoot with ballots and will respond to hate with love.”

Owaisi also demanded that a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be filed against those who fired at him.