By Faraz Shauketaly
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe into Hashan Tillakaratne’s match fixing allegations have been halted following instructions from the Minister of Sports, Mahindananda Aluthgamage. It was the Sports Minister himself who ordered the CID to investigate the allegation made by the former Sri Lankan captain on a television sports show.
The CID recorded a statement from Hashan Tillakaratne who according to informed sources reiterated his allegations of widespread match-fixing which he had said was prevalent “since 1992”. He however refrained from naming any person or persons even to the CID. Aluthgamage was unavailable for comment.
This sensational development of calling off the inquiry comes in the backdrop of what Tillakaratne had said to the CID. Whilst Tillakaratne has made these general allegations of match-fixing, his statement to the CID is said not to be anything more than what he had already stated to sections of the press. He maintains that to reveal the names of those involved in match fixing and other corrupt practices including at selector level, would be to place him and his family’s lives at risk. He was reported last week as saying that if he was to receive adequate protection he would consider naming those involved.
Tillakaratne has told police that since his explosive disclosure on television he has been subjected to threats through telephone calls that originate from overseas numbers. He claims also that he has been approached to “settle matters” but is steadfast in his statements both to the press and others that he is unwilling to reveal the names due to the threats against him and his family. He has however given some names to police “off the record”.
Sri Lanka’s former Cricket Captain has also drawn attention to the selection process for the IPL. Tillakaratne maintains that the IPL Auction was on April 8. The deadline to name the Sri Lankan squad was on April 17. There was, he maintains, no hurry to announce the National Team — speculating as to why the National Squad was named on April 7 – a full 10 days prior to the deadline but just one day before the IPL player auction. Additionally he had pointed out that the provincial tournament was also in its final stages which by right the selectors ought to have followed through to its end before announcing the National Team. Tillakaratne maintains that huge differences in auction prices which ultimately benefit the IPL teams were possible because players not in the National Squad would then command lesser amounts at the auction.