Aravinda de Silva to give statement to investigators on Tuesday

By Revatha S. Silva

DIG Jagath Fonseka (on left) with Sports Ministry Secretary K.A.D.S. Ruwanchandra

The Special Investigative Unit (SIU) on sports-related corruption, attached to the Ministry of Sports and Sri Lanka Police, will record a statement from Aravinda de Silva, the chief of national cricket selectors during the 2011 World Cup on Tuesday (30).

The Sports Minister of the time, Mahindananda Aluthgamage resurfaced on 18 June the highly contentious allegation that the final of the 2011 50-over World Cup, the flagship event of the International Cricket Council (ICC), was fixed.

Chief of the SIU Senior Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Jagath Fonseka told ‘The Morning Sports’ on Sunday (28) that his Unit has informed de Silva to be present before the investigative panel on Tuesday (30).

Will players be inquired?

“According to former Sports Minister’s allegation, we are planning to record a statement from the then (2011) chairman of selectors Aravinda de Silva on Tuesday. After that only, we will be able to decide who else will need to give statements,” DIG Fonseka said.

“We have our panel including our Deputy Director General and other investigation officers. After recording de Silva’s statement, we will discuss and move further,” he further added.

“We got all the information from the cricket board (Sri Lanka Cricket), (about) the players and the pool, everybody (who participated in the 2011 World Cup).”

Seek ICC assistance

When asked how long they are going to conduct the investigation, DIG Fonseka asserted they are doing it fast.

“It is a very difficult inquiry about something that has happened long time ago. We have to get the assistance from our intelligence service and other private informants. Then only we will be able to verify about the exact duration of the investigation. Anyway we are hoping to do it fast.”

He further explained: “Even the ICC (International Cricket Council) have talked to us. The residence officer (of the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit) in Sri Lanka is not here now due to the pandemic. He is in Dubai. We can get assistance from them also, to get some information.”

BCCI’s support

How about any assistance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the controlling board of the 2011 World Cup winners?

“We have not decided to contact the Indian cricket board. That too we will decide after Aravinda’s statement” he answered.

“It’s a serious allegation. We have power to investigate under 2019 Act No. 24. According to that act, if someone is going to be charged, it has to be done by the honourable AG (Attorney General -Dappula de Livera). From the beginning (of the establishment of this unit), they had appointed Senior Solicitor General Sumathi Dharmaratne and a team to assist us in our investigative unit. If someone is found to have committed an offence under this act, the case will be heard in the High Court in Sri Lanka. So, the cases in this unit have to be handled by the State Councillors. Police can’t do it.”

Money laundering

“Mr. Dharmaratne has advised us to do the inquiry and submit the report. Whether a 2011 matter can be taken up by an Act passed in 2019 will be decided by the AG. We as police officers have powers under the Criminal Procedure Code too to do this investigation,” he added.

“Therefore we can call someone and ask questions, and record statements. Sometimes if someone has got money illegally (in this match-fixing case), this investigation may come under the Acts pertaining to money laundering as well,” DIG Fonseka further explained.

ICC contacts Aluthgamage

Meanwhile Aluthgamage told media on Saturday (27) that he was contacted by the Head of the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit (Alex Marshall) the previous day.

“I will send him all the details (of his allegation) for them to conduct an investigation. Therefore there will be investigations conducted both locally and internationally.

We need to corporate them – SLC

SLC General Secretary Mohan de Silva told ‘The Morning Sports’ yesterday that the cricket board needs to corporate with the SIU in this investigation.

“The investigation is done by the Ministry of Sports. Therefore we will have to corporate with them. We are unaware of anything about the investigation that is going on. But they (the SIU) have taken various documents from the board for their investigation,” he said.

“They got details of the 2011 Sri Lanka squad and details of the then selection committee as well.”