IPL chief's aide 'demanded prostitutes, bribes' for selection into cricket-team
Some UP cricketers have accused Mohammad Akram Saifi, IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla's aide, of demanding prostitutes and bribes for adding them to the state team. News1 channel ran tapes of purported conversations between Rahul Sharma, a cricketer, and Saifi, where the latter is apparently heard asking Sharma to send women to a Delhi hotel. Sharma added Akram fudges players' ages to let them participate in BCCI's tournaments.
Saifi runs the show in the UP Cricket Association: Accusers
In another tape, Akram is purportedly heard assuring Sharma he will be included in the team after "a few games." Others said Saifi had demanded bribes for getting them selected. Though he doesn't hold any official position in the UP Cricket Association, he yields considerable influence, they said.
Saifi claims he's targeted due to closeness with Shukla
Saifi has vehemently denied the allegations, attributing it to his association with "such a big man" (Shukla). "(Sharma) says he sent a girl to me. If his allegations are true, then he should have played cricket, right? Did he? No," he told IE. He also asked why the allegations of a reported 2015 incident are being raised now. Incidentally, the channel didn't mention the date of the recordings.
'Young talent being curbed by corrupt agents asking for favors'
Shocked to hear about the extent of corruption in UP Cricket. Young talent being curbed by corrupt agents asking for favours. Hope @ShuklaRajiv ji ensures a fair investigation and justice to the young talent helps restore UP Cricket.I stand by all those who have been exploited— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 19, 2018
BCCI's anti-corruption unit assures probe
The BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) says it has taken a note of the complaints and will launch a probe. "We will be asking the channel for the audio and also examine the player involved," said ACU Chief Ajit Singh. The UP Cricket Association has said it is "open to inquiry," insisting it follows a transparent procedure for selection.
UP Cricket Association questions Sharma's credibility
"I have checked about Rahul Sharma and found out that he has never even been a part of the state probables. He has no credibility," Singh said. "I can't comment on the conversation between (him and Saifi) as it is their personal matter," he added.
Not the first such allegations to hit Indian cricket boards
This isn't the first time such allegations have hit cricket boards in India. Three years ago, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had accused a Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) official of demanding sex from the mother of an aspiring cricketer. Saifi maintained the "truth will come out soon." Meanwhile, eminent cricketers like Mohammad Kaif and RP Singh demanded a fair investigation.
'Corruption root cause for the sad state of UP cricket'
Corruption has been the root cause for the sad state of UP cricket and it stands exposed today. Shame that the future of young talent and UP cricket is compromised for personal gains. Hope fair investigation would help restore the the dignity of the sport to its former glory.— R P Singh (@rpsingh) July 19, 2018