The Karnataka Police on Thursday said they have arrested three key men allegedly involved in the murder case of a Bharatiya Janata Party youth wing leader in Dakshina Kannada’s Bellare district on July 26, PTI reported.

Praveen Nettaru, the Dakshina Kannada district secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, was hacked to death by two unidentified bike-borne assailants. The attack took place as he was closing his poultry shop in Bellare village in Sullia taluk of the district.

Additional Director General of Police Alok Kumar claimed that those arrested were part of the hit squad that had attacked Nettaru.

“We were aware of their identities and had gathered information about them but they were constantly on the run and hiding in different places and so there was also a delay in their arrest,” Kumar said, according to The Indian Express.

Those arrested were identified as Shia alias Shiabuddin, Bashir and Riyaz Anthadka. All of them are natives of Dakshina Kannada district, according to the police.

Kumar said that seven more people have also been arrested in the case on charges of providing logistics to the attackers.

“Some of the accused persons have links to the Popular Front of India and the Social Democratic Party of India and these links are being further investigated,” the senior police officer said, according to The Indian Express. “We have some evidence now but we cannot say anything on this basis alone.”

He added that the accused will be handed over to the National Investigation Agency once questioning by the police concludes.

On July 29, the Karnataka government had transferred the investigation of the case to the National Investigation Agency.

This was days after huge protests had erupted against the Karnataka government and several BJP youth wing leaders had resigned, saying that the state government had failed to protect the lives of party members.

On July 27, protestors threw stones and attacked the car of BJP state unit chief Nalin Kumar Kateel when he was on his way to visit Nettaru’s family.