The police on Saturday said that a temple priest and others in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district has been busted. The priest allegedly hired a professional shooter and orchestrated an attack on himself to frame a political rival.

The police said that seven people, including the chief monk of the temple and a village head, have been arrested over the attack on the priest who too will be arrested once he is released from the hospital.

The priest Atul Tripathi alias Samrat Das, who was injured in the attack last week is currently at the King George’s Medical College Hospital in Lucknow, the police told.

The incident had sparked a huge row and saints from Ayodhya camped in the district and demanded prompt action against those responsible.

District Magistrate Nitin Bansal and Superintendent of Police Shailesh Kumar Pandey, in a joint press conference, said that Das was injured when he was shot at on the night of October 10 in Shri Ram Janki Temple in the village.

A case of murder attempt was filed by Mahant Sitaramdas of the temple against a former village head Amar Singh and his associates, two of whom were arrested the next day.

The police had constituted five teams were constituted for solving the case and based on electronic evidence, statements of witnesses and other inputs, seven accused were arrested on Friday and efforts were on to catch one other person who is still on the run, the district police chief said.