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No Team India member in Zimbabwe arrested for alleged rape: MEA

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba, however, confirmed that one of the Indian nationals is involved in the crime but refused to name him.

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The news in a Harare publication of one Team India cricketer being arrested for rape on Friday sent every cricket fan into a tizzy back home. But when the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that no player was found involved in such an incident, it brought relief in the Indian cricket board.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president was quick to deny such reports. "There is no truth in this allegation. No one from the Indian team is involved," reiterated Anurag Thakur on Sunday.

Some reports also added that Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe, R Masakui, reached the Meikles hotel in central Harare where Team India is booked, to urge the authorities to settle the matter outside court.

Masakui rejected the media speculation by clarifying that the person arrested was not associated with the Indian squad. "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 this case and will inform the government of India of the developments," Masakui said.

A media report there claimed that the alleged rapist was not part of India's playing XI in the last game. Interestingly, Jayant Yadav, Faiz Fazal, Barinder Sran and Karun Nair did not play the last match against Zimbabwe. But none of the players was named by any investigative agency or local authorities there till now.

India, which selected a young squad for this tour, whitewashed the hosts 3-0 in the ODI series before losing the first of the scheduled three T20s by two runs on Saturday.

Another report claimed that the victim could have been drugged before being abused by the Indian national. As per another Zimbabwean agency report, the victim was invited by a group of cricketers from the touring national team for drinks before she was abused.

"The Zimbabwean woman was invited by the Indians for drinks after they met her in the corridor of a local hotel where the team is booked. She only woke up hours later in the accused's room with bloodied pants. There are indications she might have been drugged," sources told The Standard.

Whatever may be the confusion, one thing was confirmed – two accused had been picked up by the police following the allegation. One of them was part of an Indian company contracted by Zimbabwe Cricket to engage with sponsors during incoming tours, and was in the country for the current series.

Both accused reportedly appeared in court on Friday and were held in custody over the weekend. They are expected to apply for bail in the high court on Monday.

According to sources, an Indian affiliated with one of the sponsors has denied the charge and said he is ready for a DNA test to prove his innocence.

Police spokesperson assistant commissioner Charity Charamba, though, confirmed that one of the Indian nationals is involved in the crime but refused to name him.

"The victim has pointed an Indian national from the batch that came in last week. At this point, I am not in a position to reveal whether it's a player or official as I am bound by law. But what I can confirm is that the accused appeared in court on Saturday," Charamba said.

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