A special CBI court in Panchkula convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others in the murder of journalist Ramchandra Chhatrapati on Friday, according to several media reports.
The sentence will be pronounced on 17 January, ANI reported.
Ram Rahim was accused of orchestrating the killing of Ramchandra Chhatrapati, a Sirsa-based journalist, for openly criticising the Dera chief in his newspaper titled 'Poora Sach'.
Ahead of the verdict on Friday, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC was imposed in Panchkula. Elaborate security arrangements were made in Haryana and parts of Punjab. Several companies of the state armed police, anti-riot police and commando force were deployed to combat any untoward situation.
ANI quoted Rohtak's Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Tahir Hussain as saying, "We have heightened the security of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim"Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ahead of 11 January verdict in a murder case against him. We have established four more police posts, five patrolling parties around the jail, PCRs and three more inspectors have been put on the duty."
The Dera chief is already lodged in Rohtak's Sunaria jail, serving a 20-year prison term for raping two of his women followers. On 25 August 2017, 41 lives were claimed and scores of people were injured after violence erupted in Panchkula and other towns of Haryana following Ram Rahim's conviction.
The 51-year-old sect head appeared through video conferencing for Friday's hearing, after the court earlier this week directed the Haryana government to produce the Dera chief via video conference for the pronouncement of the verdict.
Journalist Ramchandra Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after his newspaper, 'Poora Sach', published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by Gurmeet Ram Rahim at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa.
The journalist later succumbed to injuries and a case was registered in 2003. The case was handed over to the CBI in 2006.
With inputs from agencies