Thatscricket - News - Sumathipala remanded to judicial custody

Published: Monday, January 19, 2004, 20:30 [IST]
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Colombo:Sri Lanka's cricket chief, who is also the head of the country's main telecommunications firm, was remanded in custody on a charge of breaking immigration laws to help a gangster leave the island.

Thilanga Sumathipala, whose co-accused was shot dead before appearing on separate charges 10 days ago, was arrested and detained pending an inquiry.

Sumathipala is the president of Sri Lanka Cricket, the governing body of the sport as well as the chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom, the main carrier which is partly owned and fully managed by NTT of Japan.

Sumathipala arrived in court in an ambulance. Court officials said he was most likely to be sent to a hospital under prison guard rather than the remand prison, a practice followed by senior political figures when confronted with similar circumstances.

A gunman disguised as a lawyer shot dead his co-accused, Dhammika Amarasinghe, as he was being escorted by guards to court here in connection with an unrelated case 10 days ago.

Sumathipala had been accused of aiding and abetting Amarasinghe, a man implicated in more than 28 murder cases, to obtain a forged passport and travel to London to witness a cricket match.

A police spokesman said the man who killed Amarasinghe had given himself up to the authorities and claimed he carried out the attack to avenge Amarasinghe's alleged killing of another gang member in 2001.

The state attorney general told police late last month that there was sufficient evidence to arrest Sumathipala over his alleged links to Amarasinghe.

Sumathipala's case takes new turn

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