Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla’s executive assistant Mohammed Akram Saifi has been accused by an Uttar Pradesh cricketer of asking to arrange prostitutes in return for selection in the state team. Hindi news channel News1 on Wednesday alleged that the player, Rahul Sharma, was asked to pay in “cash and kind”. Sharma also alleged that Akram provides fake age certificates to players to help them participate in BCCI’s age-group tournaments.
The news channel ran a taped phone conversation in which Akram, who is said to exercise a lot of clout in the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA), is purportedly heard asking Sharma, a state team hopeful, to send women to a five-star hotel in New Delhi. In another conversation, Akram allegedly promises that Sharma’s name will be added to the team after a few games.
A few other players also appeared on the news channel and alleged that selectors in Uttar Pradesh often asked for bribes in lieu of a place in the team. Akram doesn’t hold any position in the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association but players claim that he runs the show.
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
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) 19 July 2018
When contacted, Akram claimed the allegations were baseless and a ploy to defame him. “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,” Akram said. “Never once has his name appeared in the 60-player list of UP, neither has he played any junior cricket,” Akram said. Meanwhile, calls and messages to Rajeev Shukla went unanswered.
Akram calls the allegations a ploy to ruin his reputation and that of those he’s associated with. Akram has been personal executive to Shukla for quite some time now. He is on the BCCI payroll, drawing a monthly salary from the board.
“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?” Akram asked. The TV report does not mention the date of the recording.