India's self-styled 'godman' Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a journalist in 2002.
The three others who were convicted along with Ram Rahim in the murder last Friday have also been given the life term by a special court in Haryana's Panchkula through video conference this evening. They are Ram Rahim's close aides.
Ram Rahim, 51, is currently serving a 20-year prison term in Rohtak's Sunaria Jail for raping two of his followers. His conviction in August 2017 had triggered riots in Panchkula, as his followers went berserk, that left 30 dead and property worth crores vandalized.
There are elaborate security arrangements in place in Panchkula and Sirsa - headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect headed by Ram Rahim - and other parts of Haryana to maintain law and order situation, officials said.
Security has also been stepped up outside the Panchkula court complex with Haryana police putting up barricades on roads leading to the court.
The court had yesterday accepted Haryana government's request that the Dera Sacha Sauda sect head should appear through video conference as moving him could result in a law and order situation.
Ram Chander Chhatrapati was shot in October 2002 outside his house after his newspaper ''Poora Sach'' published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa.
The case was registered in 2003 and handed over to the CBI in 2006.
Ram Rahim was named the main conspirator in the case.
The three others convicted - Kuldeep Singh, Nirmal Singh and Krishan Lal - are lodged in Ambala Jail.
BDST: 2014 HRS, JAN 17, 2019