by Imesh Ranasinghe
The probe into whether the 2011 Cricket World Cup final was fixed so that Sri Lanka would lose launched by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Ministry of Sports is over.
The head of the Chief of the SIU SSP Jagath Fonseka has told Media that the statements of cricketers who were questioned are genuine.
A statement released by Police headquarters at 4:20 pm said no evidence of match-fixing has been revealed.
The investigation was conducted after Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna candidate Mahindananda Aluthgamage who was Minister of Sports in 2011 alleged that the match was fixed.
This angered Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena captain and vice-captain of the losing Lankan sides who challenged the former Minister to prove his allegation.
In response, the SIU grilled Sangakkara for nine hours and also questioned former opening Batsman Upul Tharanga.
Summons were issued to Jayawardena but he was not questioned.
Aluthgamage, who has alleged that the government of Kuwait was purposely sending COVID 19 infected migrant workers back to Sri Lanka, was also questioned.
He has not explained why as Sports Minister at the time of the 2011 final he did not investigate this claim.
SSP Fonseka told the Lankadeepa newspaper that the statements that were given by Sangakkara, Tharanga and former Chairman of Selectors and star batsman Aravinda de Silva clearly indicated that Aluthgamage’s allegations did not hold water.
Jayawardena arrived this morning at the SIU to give a statement on the match-fixing allegation in the World Cup final of 2011, even though the SIU had told him last night that they had postponed the interrogation.
He told waiting reporters that even though he was informed by the SIU he came today with their permission, to challenge incorrect media reports and he requested not to publish fake news quoting statements which were not issued by him.
The sight of two of Sri Lanka’s greatest sporting heroes being dragged to the police more than a decade after the match was played angered fans.
The Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya sought to ride that wave of public anger staging a demonstration outside Sri Lanka Cricket calling on the government to stop its Witch-hunt of the sportsmen.
SSP Jagath Fonseka further said that they will send the report on the investigation to the Secretary of the Ministry of Sports.
A decision to end the investigation was drawn during a discussion with high ranking officials of the Special Investigation Unit held this morning, he said.
SSP Fonseka pointed out that the summoning of various cricketers to record statements had caused a crisis in the country and can lead to a major issue.
Former Minister and opposition politician Patali Champika Ranawaka told a press conference that Sangakkara and Jayawardena had been harassed by the government for daring to challenge questionable projects.
He said that the robust criticism of the government’s plan to build a Cricket Stadium in Homagama by these two cricketers attracted the government ire and that is why there was a witch-hunt.
However, according to section 13 of the Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports act if any person who makes any false allegation knowing the content of such allegation to be false or having reasons to believe that such allegation is not true, commits an offence under this Act will be liable to a fine not exceeding rupees one hundred thousand or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment upon conviction.