UPCA probe clears Rajiv Shukla's aide who sought favours for selection
Three months after been accused by a Uttar Pradesh cricketer of asking to arrange prostitutes in return for team selection, Akram Saifi, who was assistant to IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, was given a clean chit after a probe by retired judge Chandramouli Kumar Prasad. The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association ombudsman Prasad held the sex-for-selection allegations against Saifi levelled by Rahul Sharma to be “untrue, untrustworthy and fit to be rejected”.
In his report, Prasad observed that it was a classic example of loose talk by an individual that tarnished the image of the organisation. The report stated that Sharma withdrew his allegations, stating that he had made them out of “frustration”.
On July 18 a sting operation carried by local news channel News1 ran a story where Sharma alleged that he was asked by Akram to arrange prostitutes in return for team selection.
The player Sharma also charged Saifi of being involved in corruption and issuing fake age certificates to participate in age-group tournaments conducted by the Indian cricket board.
In the report Prasad writes that he had asked Sharma whether he has any material by way of evidence and asked him to explain the accusation in detail. Sharma later submitted an affidavit where he wanted to withdrew the allegation.
“At the outset, he submitted an affidavit dated 26th July 2018, wherein he has stated that he seeks to withdraw the allegations made on national news and that he does not want to proceed further. He (Sharma) has further requested in the affidavit that the issue/matter may be closed,” Prasad wrote in his probe report submitted to UPCA.
“When asked the reasons for withdrawal of allegations, he stated that he had made these allegations due to frustration for not being selected for the state cricket team,” says the report.
He further said that Akram came across as a person who wielded clout in selection matters. “He stated that Akram projected himself to be a person who had a say in matter of selection of the cricket team by the UPCA, but subsequently, clarified that those statements were not made seriously. Nevertheless, the Complainant also said that after actually participating in and experiencing the actual selection, he is of the view that it is robust and streamlined and is not capable of being manipulated by any one individual, whether it is Akram or even an office bearer of the UPCA,” the report reads.
While denying the charges, Akram had resigned as personal executive to IPL chairman Shukla after the allegations surfaced and later the UPCA secretary Yadhuvir Singh asked its ombudsman Prasad to investigate the matter.
Prasad further in his report recommended UPCA to publicize the selection process more and more bearing in mind that “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”.