Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla’s executive assistant Mohammed Akram Saifi resigned on Thursday after he was accused by an Uttar Pradesh cricketer of asking to arrange prostitutes in return for selection in the state team. He was suspended by the BCCI following the sting operation, alleging that he sought bribes to facilitate selection of players.

A top BCCI official told PTI, “Saifi has tendered his resignation. When Mr Shukla’s view was sought on this, he said that it should be accepted with immediate effect.”

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.

An internal communication of BCCI stated, “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. Mr. Saifi’s reply shall be examined by the Commissioner once appointed. Regarding any issue pertaining to the UPCA, the UPCA would have to deal with the matter under their rules.”

Any complaints or misconduct are decided by a commissioner, according to the Rule 32 of BCCI regulations. The commissioner will be appointed by Board President CK Khanna and he will pass his findings on to the BCCI disciplinary committee within 15 days.

Ajit Singh, BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief said that they have sought the audio tapes from the channel. “We have taken note of the sting and will examine the entire matter. Until we speak to the people involved, it is difficult to say anything as of now,” he said.

Shukla has not yet reacted to the allegations by Rahul Sharma, who has never represented India or been a part of any state team either. “The BCCI only allocates funds for its office-bearers’ personal staff. They are free to appoint people of their choice as executive assistants and their salaries come from this fund. However, the Board has got nothing to do with these staffers,” a top Board official said.

Former India player and UP captain Mohammad Kaif expressed his shock at the news and tweeted, “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.”

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