Former Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) chief Thilanga Sumathipala on Sunday revived allegations of match fixing against Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva accusing them of being the first Sri Lankans to take bribes from bookies.
Sumathipala in an unusual admission blamed himself for not taking action against the World Cup winning captain and his deputy who were implicated by a notorious Mumbai bookmaker known as Mukesh Kumar Gupta, better known as MK Gupta, in the late 1990s.
Gupta who had turned whistle blower told Indian investigators that he paid Aravinda de Silva 15,000 US dollars to fix a Lucknow Test between India and Sri Lanka in 1994. De Silva has admitted he knew Gupta, but has always denied any wrong doing.
In addition, A Sri Lankan investigation by lawyer Desmond Fernando had cleared both Ranatunga and de Silva after Gupta failed to testify before the local inquiry.
Fernando, appointed on November 6th 2000 by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL), was asked to investigate allegations made by Indian bookmaker Mukesh Guptha that Arjuna Ranatnga and Aravinda de Silva accepted money to under perform in the 1994 tour of India.
He was initially given one month to complete his report, but this was then extended to allow Fernando to travel to India and UK in search of new evidence and an elusive interview with Mukesh Gupta. Further delays then occurred because of the postponement of meetings with Ranatunga and De Silva.
Finally, eight months later, he handed the report to then Interim Committee Chairman, Vijaya Malalsekera and cleared both Arjuna and Aravinda of any wrongdoing.
Ranatunga has firmly denied having ever knowingly meet Gupta and having ever under performed in return for money. De Silva admits to having been approached by bookmakers, but denies having ever been involved in match fixing.
So the question is why Sumathipala is making false accusations at this particular time?
The answer is simple : Sumathipala has been knocked out from the SLC on May 31st in the most embarrassing way. His two years at the helm completely paralyzed Sri Lanka Cricket in every aspect. There were match fixing, spot fixing allegations during his tenure at SLC, but he always remained tight-lipped!
Now, the same Sumathipala who could not say a single word about Ravin Wickramaratne saga in last two years, in order to make a comeback, has made one of the most serious allegations in Sri Lanka Cricket history by dragging two World Cup winning Legends into the mud of match fixing.
By doing this, he has insulted entire Sri Lanka Cricket!