The first indication of a planned distancing from the government came when M.S. Vaidya, official spokesperson of the rss, categorically stated that the Tehelka tapes constituted prima facie evidence and that "the government will have to take care of its administration". Vaidya also described dethroned bjp chief Bangaru Laxman as "a failed swayamsevak". This, when Laxman and swayamsevak-turned-middleman R.K. Gupta got their first ideological initiation in morning rss shakhas. The whole edifice of "high moral values" and samskar the rss preaches came crumbling down when TV sets splashed the swayamsevaks freely dealing in slush money.
Talking to Outlook, Vaidya confirmed Gupta’s proximity to the rss. "When swayamsevaks go out and do good work, the rss earns its reputation. But when someone does bad things, it does affect our image," he says. Old-timers also confirm Gupta as a regular at shakhas. He started his career as a government employee but left to start his own contract business, built the rss HQ at Jhandewalan, came into contact with former MP chief minister Virendra Saklecha and landed him in a major land scam in 1978. Saklecha was thrown out of the party and later went into oblivion. Gupta’s closeness to bjp leader K.N. Sahni is well known in Delhi’s political circles. Till recently, Sahni was a director in one of Gupta’s firms and the latter had given him a residence in Niti Bagh. His connections afforded Gupta easy access to the corridors of power.