A local court in northern Indian state of Haryana Thursday sentenced self-styled "godman" and spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, along with three others, to life imprisonment for the murder of a journalist in 2002, officials said.
Last week the special court designated to hear the case had convicted the self-styled godman and his three accomplices for the murder of local journalist and newspaper editor Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 51, is already in jail serving a 20-year prison term for raping two female followers.
"This is the victory of truth. I feel relieved today," Anshul Chhatrapati, son of the slain journalist, told media after the court sentence. "Though prosecution had demanded capital punishment but we are satisfied with the punishment that court granted to the accused," he said.
Ram Chander Chhatrapati was killed in Sirsa, Haryana on Oct. 24, 2002.
Chhatrapati published an anonymous explosive letter in his vernacular newspaper Poora Sach (Entire Truth) narrating the alleged sexual exploitation of women followers by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at the headquarters of his sect in Sirsa.
India's premier investigating agency - Central Bureau of Investigation probed the case and filed a charge sheet in July 2007.
Officials said during the trial, security was tightened across Haryana and in parts of Punjab, where most of the sect's followers live.
In August 2017, violence erupted in Haryana after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's rape conviction, resulting in the death of 38 people and leaving 250 others injured.