Patna Police on Friday claimed to have arrested two priests - a father and son duo - for giving out a contract to kill Avinash Kumar, a ward leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Police said, Pannalal Gupta and his son Darshan Gupta, alias Guddu, admitted to having ordered the killing of the 33-year-old general secretary of BJP's Patna unit on Thursday and also described the three killers who are currently on the run.
"We have the profiles of the killers from the CCTV footage recovered from Maa Kali temple, before which Kumar was shot," said Patna senior superintendent of police Vikas Vaibhav, adding that the police have leads and would make the arrests soon.
Footage from a security camera show the three gunmen chasing Kumar, who was out for a morning walk near his Daldali Road residence, on foot and opening fire. As Kumar falls to the ground, one of the assailants then walks up to him and shoots him in the head. All three gunmen were about 20 to 25 years of age, witnesses told police.
Kumar was rallying for supporters for a Chai pe Charcha with party worker for the upcoming assembly elections in the state when he was killed. However, police have ruled out a political angle to the killing, saying personal enmity was the more likely reason behind Kumar's murder as initial investigations suggested.
Director general of police, PK Thakur, held a high-level meeting with range officers, including the IG and SP's, and ordered a crackdown as the BJP gave 48 hours to the state administration to bring the criminals to book or face an agitation all over the state.
Raids were also carried out in all adjacent districts of Patna, including Vaishali across the Ganga, in order to locate the contract killers who are yet to be traced.
The BJP had hit the well of the House, both in the state assembly and council on Wednesday, condemning a rash of crimes, forcing adjournment of proceedings.
On Thursday, BJP leader and former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain had criticised the Nitish Kumar government saying incidents keep happening day after day right under the nose of the administration and "yet the response has been ineffective".
"This has happened under the watch of chief minister Nitish Kumar, who also handles the law and order and home portfolio," said Hussain.
Hussain joined leader of the opposition in the assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and other party leaders at a sit-in near the spot while shops shut down in central Patna as part of a spontaneous bandh.
Bihar, one of the country's poorest and most lawless states, is expected to see assembly polls in two to three months with an avowedly secular alliance of Kumar's Janata Dal(United), former rival Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress taking on the BJP that's banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity.