Thatscricket - News - Arjuna, Aravinda cleared of all charges
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Colombo: Sri Lanka's cricket Board on Wednesday gave the final all clear and exonerated former Test skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and his deputy Aravinda de Silva of match-fixing charges levelled by an Indian bookmaker.[an error occurred while processing this directive]The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) said the findings by one-man investigator Desmond Fernando had "categorically exonerated" the duo of any wrongdoing."It is with great pleasure that the interim Board (of the BCCSL) issues this press release in view of the tremendous contributions made by Mr Ranatunga and Mr De Silva to Sri Lanka cricket," the BCCSL said.Two weeks ago, BCCSL's interim president Vijaya Malalasekara said the Board had agreed to keep the International Cricket Council (ICC) informed before going public on the inquiry.Fernando said Ranatunga and De Silva were cleared of match-fixing charges due to "inadequate and untested" evidence and that he was completely satisfied with their testimony.Fernando, a lawyer by profession and Sri Lanka's representative in the Code of Conduct Committee of the ICC, made his report after an eight-month investigation.The allegations against the two Sri Lankan players were contained in a report by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had looked into charges against players in that country.An Indian bookmaker, Mukesh Gupta, had claimed in testimony published in the CBI report that Ranatunga and De Silva helped him fix an Indian victory in the Lucknow Test in 1994.Ranatunga has flatly denied the charges of corruption while De Silva has maintained that he never took bribes, although he admitted bookmakers approached him.Gupta had said De Silva was paid $ 15,000, but it was unclear in his allegations if money was supposed to have been handed to Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to World Cup victory in 1996.Fernando concluded there was insufficient evidence against the two top players. "I reiterate that Mr Gupta's statement was inadequate, untested and had infirmities which rendered his statement impossible to be acted upon," Fernando said, adding that Gupta refused to be interviewed.