The Uttar Pradesh Police has said the murderers of Surendra Singh, a close aide of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Smriti Irani, were his local political rivals, multiple reports said. The fifty-year-old, a village head, was shot dead by two unidentified persons around 11.30 pm on Saturday.

Director General of Police OP Singh revealed the information at a press conference and said three of the five suspects had been arrested. “On the basis of all evidence it is very clear that the five murder suspects and the victim had local-level political rivalry,” he added.

The police have filed a first information report against the five. Four of the accused, Wasim, Nasim, Golu and Ramchandra, have been booked for the murder while the fifth person, identified as Dharamnath Gupta has been charged with conspiracy to kill the BJP leader.

The state police chief had earlier said he was hopeful of investigators solving the case within 12 hours as demanded by Chief Minister Adityanath.

Smriti Irani, who wrested the Amethi Lok Sabha seat from Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the recently concluded General Elections, attended Surendra Singh’s funeral on Sunday and was also one of the pall-bearers. She asked party workers to “exercise restraint”. “My request is to all party workers is that we should exercise restraint,” she told the media. The newly elected MP said she would personally ensure that Singh’s culprits receive the death penalty.