Sri Lanka court refuses bail to Sumathipala

Published: Saturday, January 31, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:A Colombo magistrate remanded Sri Lanka's cricket chief and head of the main telecommunications company after formally charging him with breaking immigration laws, a court official said.

Thilanga Sumathipala was ordered to be remanded in custody for 10 more days pending further police investigations, the official said.

Sumathipala appeared before the court on Friday, 11 days after he was remanded following allegations that he helped a criminal travel abroad on a forged passport.

The magistrate refused him bail and fixed the next hearing for early next month.

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

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

Amarasinghe was shot dead earlier this month as he was escorted to court in Colombo in connection with an unrelated case by a gunman disguised as a lawyer.

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.

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