July 04, Colombo: Former Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage has questioned the quick dismissal of the investigation into the match fixing allegations raised by him.
Speaking to media in Nawalapitiya, Aluthgamage said he cannot agree with the decision of the Police Special Investigation Unit of the Sports Ministry to dismiss the investigation claiming that there was no corrobo0rating evidence to support the allegations.
The investigation began after Aluthgamage, who was the Sports Minister at the time of the 2011 World Cup Championship, last month alleged that the 2011 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka was ‘sold’ to India for money,
The former minister said he will request the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to initiate a formal inquiry into the statement of the Police Media Spokesperson that there was insufficient evidence to support the investigation into the alleged involvement of Sri Lanka Cricket officials to fix the 2011 World Cup final in India’s favor.
Speaking further the Minister said he has made the allegations several times but no steps were taken to probe them.
“I recently made a statement about the 2011 World Cup. I have made that statement twice before. Former sports ministers and cricketers have stated this.”
“I also have a letter sent by the head of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit to Minister Harin Fernando (Sports Minister in the previous government) in December 2018. The letter says among the Test cricket nations Sri Lanka has the highest number of corruptions and the ICC is currently investigating the claims.”
“The police unit obtained a statement from me. I gave all the information I had. I made it very clear that the players were not involved in this. I do not know on what grounds the police unit summoned Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. I don't know why the players were called when I clearly said they were not involved.”
“The police spokesman has said that the investigation was stopped due to lack of information. I spoke to the police unit who got statements from me. The head of the Police Investigation Unit tells me that this incident happened in 2011 and it ould not be investigated under the Match Fixing Act which was passed in 2019.”
“Kumar Sangakkara's lawyer has said that they are not obliged to give a statement because it is the wrong Act. Then the police realized that the investigation that was started is wrong.”
The former Minister said when the police made a blunder starting a wrong investigation they cannot dismiss it saying there is no information and hence the inquiry is over.
He pointed out that except the three players summoned, the police only recorded a statement from the chairman of the then select committee Aravinda de Silva.
“Did they get a statement from the former secretary of cricket board? Chairman or the executives? No one has recorded a statement from anyone involved in that tournament. I made it clear who need to be questioned. Can you close the investigation obtaining only one statements? This is what the police did in the past. When we complained against the good governance government ministers, the complaint was closed within two days.”
“What happened here is the police investigation was conducted incorrectly. Police Investigation Unit cannot investigate under the current Sports Act. Because of the seriousness of this, I made a statement. This should be investigated by the International Cricket Council,” Alutgamage explained.
“I told the president that the police spokesman had made an unfair statement. I have requested a formal investigation into this matter,” he said.
The former minister said the police is trying to cover up their mistake by accusing him. “I ask the Police Media Spokesman, can an investigation be stopped after recording a statement from one witness?”
“Kumar Sangakkara has said that the ICC should investigate the matter. I have said not to politicize this. We can win the World Cup. We have to stop giving away these matches. There are no players behind this, but those involved are spending a lot of money to escape the allegations," he said.
The ‘Special Investigation Unit on Prevention of Offenses Relating to Sports’ recorded statements from Aravinda de Silva, the chairman of selectors at the time, one of the opening batsmen Upul Tharanga, Captain Kumar Sangakkara and Vice-Captain Mahela Jayawardene.