Accused Mohammed Akram Saifi (left) with Rajeev Shukla (middle) and Virat Kohli (right) Image: Twitter
Mohammed Akram Saifi, executive assistant to Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla, has been accused of asking for prostitutes and bribes in exchange of selection in the Uttar Pradesh state team.
Hindi news channel News 1 reported that the allegations were made by a UP cricketer named Rahul Sharma. The channel even ran a taped conversation between Saifi and Sharma, where it appeared that Saifi asked the cricketer to contribute through 'cash and kind' for his selection.
In the tape, Saifi is reportedly heard asking Sharma to send women to a five-star hotel in Delhi. In another recorded conversation, Saifi allegedly promises Sharma’s selection to the team after a few games.
Sharma also claimed Saifi has been providing fake age certificates to help cricketers play in junior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) domestic tournaments.
Saifi doesn't hold an official position with the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) but reportedly holds a lot of clout with the state board due to his position. Saifi is on the BCCI's payroll.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Saifi rubbished all the accusations and 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."
He also said the accusation was a ploy to drag his and his associates' names through the mud. "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," he said.
"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?" Saifi asked.