Former SL sports minister says police botched the 2011 World Cup final investigation

SL captain Kumar Sangakkara looks on as MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh celebrate  | AFP

Former Sri Lanka sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told parliament on Tuesday, that the Lankan police “botched” an investigation into the 2011 cricket World Cup final which the country lost to India.

He also said that he was “not satisfied” after the criminal investigation department dropped the case following allegations he made in June last year.

The CID took the investigation in the wrong direction of the players and found nothing. As a result, they botched the case. They did not question any of the officials or the office bearers of the board. Had they done that, the outcome of the investigation would have been different.

“I said players were not involved. To mislead the investigation the CID brought them in, but did not question the board president and secretary or the team manager. The management and officials knew what was happening, but their statements were not recorded,” Aluthgamage, who is now agriculture minister, said.

Sri Lankan police questioned team captain Kumar Sangakkara for nine hours but said they found no evidence of match-fixing by Sri Lankan players and dropped the case. Even the ICC also said it had looked into the allegations and found no reason to doubt the 2011 result.

Raising suspicions were the decision of making four changes to playing XI of the Sri Lankan team and Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning skipper, has also raised doubts about 2011 final, but stopped short of making direct allegations against players.

Aluthgamage told parliament that match-fixing was rife in Sri Lanka.

Without ending match-fixing, we will never be able to win another World Cup,” the minister said as Sri Lanka’s national team left for the T20 World Cup to be played in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from October 17.

Harin Fernando, the sports minister who introduced the law, has said the ICC considers Sri Lanka one of the world’s most corrupt nations.