The Dera Sacha Sauda was set-up by Shah Mastana from Baluchistan in 1948, as a center for spiritual learning, based upon liberal theology that was in disagreement with established orthodox religions and philosophies. Shah Mastana was succeeded by Shah Satnam Singh, who was followed in 1992 by Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh (also known as Sant Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh ji and Hazoor Maharaj ji among his followers).
The organization does not accept any gifts, alms or donations. The inhabitants of the ashram work in the agricultural fields and the income from the produce is utilized for social welfare activities and meet the expenses of the organization.
A complete list of the principles of Dera Sacha Sauda can be found on its website.
Present Master Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji formed Shah Satnam Ji Green S Welfare Force for rendering help during any natural calamity.
On 20 May, 2007, a press release by the organisation mentioned that it regretted the events that had occurred. The sect admitted that the ad did create misunderstandings, but that it was never intended to hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community The organisation again apologised on 27 May, 2007 saying, "We are pained by the developments of the last several days. We are sorry for the misunderstanding and would like to apologise to Guru Gobind Singh.". However the Akal Takht rejected the apology, saying it was dissatisfied with the manner in which the Dera head has sent the apology..
On 20 June 2007, additional chief judicial magistrate A.L. Kitchi issued an arrest warrant against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in connection with a criminal case registered against him under Section 295-A of the IPC on May 20 in Bathinda..
On 21 June 2008, in Mulund, a suburb of Mumbai, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's personal bodyguard opened fire on Sikh protesters outside a shopping mall and killed one local Sikh, Balkar Singh. A Sikh killing in Mulund. ABC Live. Retrieved on 2008-06-21..
The organization and its head, Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh, are also under investigation for the murder of a journalist, Ram Chandra Chatrapati, and for sexual exploitation of women followers.
Although Dera Sacha Sauda says it discourages donations, Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh's favourite mode of transport is a fleet of Mercedes cars, protected by up to 25 bodyguards. In 2007, he clashed with the Punjab's state government after urging his followers to vote for the Congress party, which forms the opposition in Punjab.
Eighteen sadhvis examined by the CBI after they had left the Dera Sacha Sauda not only deposed against Dera chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, but also called him and his followers “very dangerous people”. Two of them also charged the Dera chief with rape. A former driver of the dera chief, Khatta Singh, spilled the beans in all these cases by recording his statement before a magistrate in a court here earlier this year. There were allegations that former dera follower and a close aide of the sect chief, Ranjit Singh, was murdered by dera followers in July 2002 as he had highlighted the wrongdoings inside the dera headquarters, including the sexual exploitation of women followers by top people of the sect.