हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Lanka denies delaying ICC ~~fix~~ probe

Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Colombo: Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella on Tuesday vowed to help the International Cricket Council (ICC) probe allegations of match-fixing against two top Sri Lankan players. Kiriella told Parliament that Sri Lanka would co-operate fully with the ICC investigation into the claims against former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and his deputy, Aravinda de Silva. His comments came amid allegations that authorities were dragging their feet on the probe. "We are supporting a full and comprehensive investigation and will co-operate fully with the ICC," Kiriella told Parliament. However, he said it was unfair to sling mud at the two players before charges were proved. Ranatunga and de Silva have until Wednesday to respond to the allegations, first made by an Indian bookmaker M K Gupta. The Indian bookmaker had told India's Central Bureau of Investigation that he paid $ 15,000 for the Sri Lankan duo to engineer a Sri Lankan defeat at the 1994 Test against India at Lucknow. Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to its one and only World Cup victory in 1996, has categorically denied accepting bribes, while de Silva said he was approached by bookmakers, but did not accept any money. Cricket sources said the ICC had been less than happy with the pace of investigations undertaken by Sri Lanka's Board of Control for Cricket (BCCSL), which was sacked and replaced by an interim panel last week. BCCSL's lone investigator, Desmond Fernando, has asked Ranatunga and de Silva to make their submissions by Wednesday. ICC anti-corruption unit chief Sir Paul Condon and his chief investigator Jeff Reed put off a visit to Colombo last week, but another ICC investigator Bob Smalley began investigations here last week. Jeff Reed is expected to take part in a hearing with Desmond Fernando this month. Cricket sources said Ranatunga and de Silva will be questioned by Reed. Several other players who were in the 1994 squad and the team's management will also be questioned. The ICC probe team was initially expected here in February, but sources said their arrival was delayed by Sri Lanka's Test and One-day series with England. De Silva played in the Test series against England, but was dropped from the One-day series. Ranatunga quit international cricket in August last year. Copyright AFP 2000 AFP

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