Lahore/Mumbai, Aug 15: Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, who is at the centre of a raging controversy after a Mumbai-based model accused him of sexually exploiting her, today admitted that photographs of the two posing together were real, but denied having any relationship with her.
Rauf, an ICC elite panel upmire, said that the model Leena Kapoor had taken pictures with him by posing as a fan and dismissed her claim that he had promised to marry her.
“I am 56 and happily married with two kids and at my age how can I promise to marry anyone else. I don't know why she is doing this but if she continues to defame me and cause me and my family pain than I will take legal action against her,” Rauf told PTI.
“The allegations levelled by her are preposterous and she is just making this story up to gain cheaop publicity and fame,” he said.
In Mumbai, Kapoor gave a written complaint to Deputy Commissioner of Police Pratap Digaokar's office in suburban Bandra on Monday alleging that she was sexually abused by Rauf on several occasions in Sri Lanka as well as in India, this year.
Digaokar said the complaint was received by him and he has forwarded it to the Versova police station, which has begun an enquiry in the matter.
According to Kapoor, she meet Rauf in Sri Lanka in March this year through a common friend and the two exchanged their telephone numbers.
She said Rauf had disclosed his marital status and the fact that he had children, but added that his religion allowed him to have more than one wife. Kapoor said the umpire stopped responding to her calls and around five days back, he cut her off, denying knowing her at all.
“If he (Rauf) continued to deny relation with me, I'll take action against him,” the Indian model said without elaborating.
Rauf said many cricket fans and people want to meet and take photographs with people like him. These include women. “So a few pictures don't mean I had an affair with her,” Rauf added.
Daring her to take legal action against him, he said,”If she has any concrete evidence that I had sexual relations with her she should come forward with them and take me to court.”
The Pakistani umpire, a former first class player, had umpired a few IPL matches this year. This is the first time that such serious allegations have been levelled against an umpire of the Elite panel.
Pakistani channels reported today that the ICC had sought an explanation from Rauf over the affair and were considering suspending him from the panel till the matter was cleared.
Kapoor, 21, forced himinto recommending her for the reality TV show “Bigg Boss” as he has good relations with people in Bollywood, Rauf told Express News channel. “But the show's organisers said that they do not accept entries via recommendations or references. So I ended contact with her,” he said.
“All I can say at the moment is that there is no truth in these allegations.I cannot make such relations at the ripe old age of 56,” Rauf said.
Kapoor claimed the two became very good friends following which Rauf had even proposed to marry her. “He had also come to Mumbai when I was not well,” she told PTI. Rauf had introduced her to many people in Delhi “as his wife,” she said.
On photos circulated in the media, she said, “I have more pictures of us. How can he say that there is no relationship between us? The pictures speak for themselves. How can he lie? God knows why he is lying.”
Kapoor also said, “He (Rauf) wanted to meet my parents and talk to them.”
Asked about her complaint against Rauf, Kapoor said, “I have filed rape charges against him. He has tortured me mentally and physically. I am hopeful I will get justice. He is a coward. I treated him like my husband.”
Kapoor has appeared in commercial advertisements for a jeans company, a hair oil brand alongwith actress Gracy Singh and others.
Refuting Kapoor's claim, Rauf said she was making allegations against him to gain “cheap publicity” and that it was a move to defame Pakistan.
“I can only speak in detail following permission by the International Cricket Council as I am the body's contracted official,” he told The Express Tribune newspaper.
Making it clear that there will be no change in his umpiring schedule, Rauf said he would visit India in January for an India-England series.