Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is serving a jail term after being convicted in rape and murder cases, has been granted parole for 40 days, officials told PTI on Friday.

The development came ahead of the Adampur bye-poll on November 3 and Haryana panchayat elections on November 12.

Singh and four others are serving life imprisonment for the murder of a former manager of the sect. He was sentenced by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Haryana’s Panchkula town in October. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief, lodged at Rohtak’s Sunaria jail, is also serving a 20-year term in prison for raping two of his followers.

Singh is expected to stay on the Dera’s premises either at Sirsa or in Rajasthan, reported The Indian Express.

This is the third time Singh has been granted parole this year. In June, the sect leader was released on a month-long parole, while in February he was granted a 21-day furlough ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections.

While a prisoner is granted parole based on an urgent demand or need, a furlough can be given without any reason after serving a stipulated amount of time in prison.