Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted on Friday in the murder case of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.

A special CBI court in Haryana’s Panchkula held Singh guilty of murdering the Sirsa-based journalist in 2002. Besides the self-styled godman, the court also held three others guilty of the crime.

“All the four accused have been convicted,” CBI lawyer HPS Verma told news agency PTI. The three others found guilty are Kuldeep Singh, Nirmal Singh and Krishan Lal.

The verdict was pronounced by special judge Jagdeep Singh in Panchkula. Singh will be sentenced on 17 January.

Chhatrapati was shot outside his house and died later.

His newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, had published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa.

The case with the self-styled godman named as main accused was registered in 2003. Three years later, CBI took over the case.

According to reports, his former driver, who is the main witness in the case, said that the sect chief had ordered the killing of the journalist.

Ram Rahim is currently serving a 20-year prison term for raping two of his followers. He is lodged in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail from where he appeared before the court through video conferencing.

Security was beefed up in Haryana and parts of Punjab especially in Panchkula and Sirsa, which is the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda.

(With inputs from agencies.)