Lanka Board crisis affects ICC probe

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: A crisis at the top levels of Sri Lanka's Cricket Board has threatened to slow down the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) match-fixing probe on former captain Arjuna Ranatunga and deputy Aravinda de Silva. Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella had fired the office-bearers of the Board Of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) on Wednesday after a court ruled that the organisation had violated the sports law and could not hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on Saturday. The furore seems to have compelled the ICC to slacken its probe with senior investigator Bob Smalley due to return to London on Thursday just two days after arriving in Colombo. The Colombo district court upheld a petition claiming that the BCCSL, one of the island's richest organisations, had not given its accounts to members one month ahead of the plenary meeting as required. Sumathipala had said on Wednesday that ICC's chief investigator Jeff Reed had begun collecting documents of the 1994 match against India allegedly fixed by Ranatunga and de Silva and added that the players would be questioned next week. Desmond Fernando, the head of the BCCSL's anti-corruption section, however, said Thursday that it was Smalley, and not Reed, who started work here, "completed some preliminary work" and was leaving for London. Fernando, who is conducting his own examination of the charges for the BCCSL, said he had given the two players time till April 4 to give their written "observations". Ranatunga and de Silva are among the many players who were named in India's premier investigation agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on corruption in the game released last year.

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