A top minister told parliament Tuesday that Sri Lankan police “bungled” an investigation into the 2011 cricket World Cup final, which the country lost to India, reigniting an explosive match-fixing dispute.
After the criminal investigation agency withdrew the case following claims he made in June last year, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who was the sports minister at the time, said he was “not satisfied.”
The CID went in the wrong way with their inquiry and came up empty-handed. As a result, they mishandled the case,” Aluthgamage, who is now the country’s agricultural minister, said in answer to questions from the opposition.
“They did not question any of the board’s officers or office bearers. The investigation’s outcome would have been different if they had done so.
“I stated that no players were engaged. The CID called them in to deceive the inquiry, but did not interrogate the board president and secretary, nor the team manager. “Management and officials were aware of what was going on, but their statements were not taken down,” Aluthgamage stated.
After questioning team captain Kumar Sangakkara for nine hours, Sri Lankan authorities concluded that there was no evidence of match manipulation by Sri Lankan players and dropped the case.
The world governing body of cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC), stated it had investigated the allegations and found no reason to doubt the 2011 result. The four changes made to Sri Lanka’s team immediately before the final at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium sparked suspicions.
Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning captain, has expressed reservations about the 2011 final, but has refrained from making specific accusations against players.
Match rigging was rampant in Sri Lanka, Aluthgamage informed parliament.
“We will never be able to win another World Cup unless we stop match fixing,” the minister warned as Sri Lanka’s national squad headed for the T20 World Cup, which begins on October 17 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
In 2019, Sri Lanka made match rigging a criminal offence. Offenders might face a 10-year prison sentence and fines of up to 100 million rupees ($500,000).
The International Cricket Council (ICC) considers Sri Lanka to be one of the world’s most corrupt countries, according to Harin Fernando, the sports minister who introduced the bill.