Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh wrote, produced, directed and starred in his blockbuster movie Messenger of GodYouTube

Multi-millionaire religious "guru" Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh persuaded around 400 of his estimated 50 million followers worldwide to cut off their own testicles to "bring them closer to God".

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
In the movie Ram Rahim performs a number of miraclesYoutube

The details of the bizarre incident have only just come to light despite reportedly taking place in 2000 at a hospital run by Ram Rahim in India.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Rim Rahim is estimated to have 50 million followers worldwideYoutube

India's Central Bureau of Investigation has reportedly accused Ram Rahim of grievous bodily harm and he is under investigation. He has previously been questioned over the murder of an investigative journalist in 2002 and has also been accused of sexual assault by female followers but has never been charged.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Rim Rahim is believed to be worth around £26mYoutube

Navkiran Singh, who is the lawyer for Hans Raj Chauhan, the only castration victim so far to come forward, said his client and other victims believed they would become social outcasts if they refused to perform the "operation" demanded of them by Ram Rahim.

"They were told that only those who get castrated will be able to meet God," said Navkiran, in a report in the Daily Mail.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Rim Rahim is a charismatic leader with many devoteesYoutube

Ram Rahim, 47, dubbed the "guru in bling", is head of the socio-political organisation Dera Sacha Sauda and is estimated to be worth £26m.

The guru stars in a spectacular new movie, Messenger of God, in which he appears to walk on air, tear tree trunks in half and perform other miracles. Though 157,000 people are thought to have attended the film's premiere in Gurgaon, near Delhi, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the revelations have caused sales of tickets for the movie to dwindle dramatically.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
In Messenger of God Rim Rahim appears to perform all his own stunts Youtube

Gurus are big business in India, where their endorsements can help political parties get elected, and where millions of people seek spiritual guidance every year. Sathya Sai Baba, who was said to be able to conjure ash from thin air, was worth an estimated US$7bn when he died.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Rim Rahim's movie has seen a slump in sales since reports about his demand for followers to cut off their own testicles began to emergeYoutube

Even after death, some gurus retain a hold over devotees. Ashutosh Maharaj, who was certified deceased by medical examiners last year, has had his body frozen by followers who apparently believe he is merely in a state of deep meditation called "samadhi".