New Delhi/Harare: The second-string Indian cricket team's tour of Zimbabwe was today struck by a controversy after an official associated with one of the sponsors of the series was arrested on charges of rape even though he denied involvement in the incident.
The storm erupted after the Zimbabwean media reported that an unnamed Indian cricketer had been arrested on charges of rape.
The reports stated that India's ambassador to the African nation, R Masakui, had tried to prevent the player's arrest at a Harare hotel.
However, Masakui outrightly rejected the media speculation by clarifying that the person arrested was not associated with the Indian squad which is currently engaged in a limited-overs series against Zimbabwe.
"This is an unfortunate incident. However, this is to clarify that no cricketer is involved in this. We are seeking Counsellor access to persons and the Indian Embassy in Harare is following up with this case and will inform the government of India of the developments," Masakui said.
Official sources in India also denied the reports that set the social media abuzz today.
"Regarding media reports of an Indian cricketer being involved in an alleged case of rape in Harare, we have spoken to our Ambassador to Zimbabwe. The report is totally false. No Indian cricketer is involved," the sources said.
"An Indian affiliated with one of the sponsors has been arrested. He has also denied the charge and said he is ready for a DNA test to prove his innocence. Our Ambassador is following the matter closely," they added.
The BCCI also stepped in to clarify that none of its players or officials were involved in the alleged incident.
"There is no truth in these allegations. There is no Indian cricketer or any match official involved in this. They have nothing to do with the incident. And if any individual is involved who is not a part of the BCCI or the team, we can't comment on that," BCCI President Anurag Thakur said.
"I just want to make it clear that BCCI employees or the match officials or even the players have nothing to do with this incident," he added. India are currently competing in a three-match Twenty20 series against the hosts after sweeping the ODIs 3-0. The visitors had lost the opening T20 in Harare yesterday and will be playing the second match tomorrow at the same venue.