Mohammed Akram Saifi, the executive assistant of Rajeev Shukla, the chairman of Indian Premier League (IPL), has been accused by an Uttar Pradesh cricketer of a demand for arranging a prostitute, in return of the cricketer getting a chance in the state team.

The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association has suspended the accused and initiated an inquiry following a sting operation by a Hindi news channel. The sting operation was telecast where a phone conversation between Akram Saifi and cricketer Rahul Sharma was can be heard. In the conversation, Saifi is heard seeking favours in “cash and kind” to take in Sharma in the state team.

Shukla is currently the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) Secretary.

Saifi helped players to get fake age certificates that help them to play in BCCI’s age-group tournaments, alleged Sharma.

In the recorded phone conversation aired by the News channel, Sharma was asked by the Saini to send him a woman in his five-star hotel in New Delhi. Saini plays an important role in the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA). In another conversation, that was also taped shows Saini promising Sharma about a confirmed selection in the team after a few games.

After this sting came out in the public, a few players from Uttar Pradesh appeared on the news channel and claimed that to get chance in the team, selectors of Uttar Pradesh had also asked bribes from them. The players alleged Saini is the person who controls the whole matter, despite him not holding any position in the Uttar Pradesh association.

The whole thing was baseless and it was a trick to defame his name, said Saini when he was contacted by the News channel. Saini said “the boy says he sent a girl to me. If his allegations are true, then he should have played cricket, right? Did he? No. His allegation would have been proven had he played for UP, never once has his name appeared in the 60-player list of UP, neither has he played any junior cricket.” On the other hand, Rajeev Sukla was not available for comments.

“Pursuant to the tele-conference between Chairman of COA (Committee of Administrators) and (BCCI) Acting President (C K Khanna) and pending the appointment of a Commissioner under Rule 32 of the rules and regulations of BCCI, we are seeking an explanation from Mr. Akram Saifi regarding the allegations made against him,” an internal communication of the BCCI, which is in possession of the PTI, stated.

“Mr. Saifi’s reply shall be examined by the Commissioner once appointed,” it added.

Saini claimed “the truth will come out soon, I’m associated with such a big man (Shukla) so it’s natural that people will attack me from all corners. This is done by dissatisfied people, including those close to me. Yeh pura ek khel hai bahut logon ka. There is a group of some 15-odd people who were involved in this. Why’s this allegation come now if the incident dates back to 2015? Why is he coming out in public in 2018?”The date of the recording was not published by the News channel.

(Adapted from TheIndianExpress.com)