Senanayake to spend more time in remand
Former Sri Lanka national team cricketer Sachithra Senanayake, who was further remanded over allegations of match-fixing, has ‘acted as a seasoned criminal’ by attempting to mislead the investigators by providing inaccurate information, the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday.
Senanayake was in remand custody over his alleged attempt to entice two players of the Colombo Kings franchise in the Lanka Premier League in 2020 into indulging in corrupt practices during the inaugural edition since September 6. He was ordered to be further remanded till September 25 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Prasanna de Alwis.
This was after Senior Deputy Solicitor General (SDSG) Dileepa Peiris, appearing for the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Ministry of Sports on behalf of the Attorney General, objected to the granting of bail saying the suspect may further interfere with the investigations if released on bail.
The SDSG said in Court that Senanayake had misled the investigators from the start by providing false information.
“Without facilitating the ongoing investigation, he has misled the investigators by giving false information. Even though his address is 71/1, Gramodaya Mawatha, Kalalgoda, Pannipitiya in his statements to the investigators he has declared it as 171/1, Gramodaya Mawatha, Kalalgoda, Pannipitiya. Instead of his phone number, he has given someone else’s number. It’s clear he was misleading the investigators,” SDSG Peiris said in Court on Friday.
The SDSG said that according to a statement given by Muditha Thiranga, a longstanding friend of Senanayake, the suspect often travels abroad and patronizes nightclubs. During these visits to the nightclubs, he would take about 15 players and treat them.
“This is questionable. We need to find out the motive behind these spendings. So we need to record statements from those players who patronize his parties. We need to find out why he is trying to mislead the investigations. We need to find out those who had dealings with the suspect,” the SDSG said.
Senanayake, a member of the 2014 T20 World Cup winning team, was charged in 2020 after two cricketers–former Sri Lanka international Dhammika Prasad and a domestic cricketer Tharindu Ratnayake–complained to the local anti-corruption officer of alleged approaches to underperform.
He is charged under the Prevention of Offences related to Sports Act in 2019 which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years or a maximum fine of Rs.100mn or both.
An investigation was launched in 2020 on the insistence of the ICC Anti-Corruption head Alex Marshall. It revealed that the suspected cricketer had allegedly contacted both players via WhatsApp to influence them.
Prasad had been first approached by a person identified as ‘Stabby’, who is a foreigner, while Ratnayake was approached by a person named ‘Shahidi’. The police investigations have revealed that Senanayake has had close links with both these persons.
Police revealed in Court, how Senanayake has attempted to convince both cricketers to engage in the corrupt practices.
SDSG Peiris said that on the last inquiry date, the suspect had undertaken to provide the details of the person on whose behalf he was sent to a five star hotel in Hambantota to deliver a bottle of whiskey to Tharindu Ratnayake. When investigators contacted the person on the information given by the suspect, it was found to be false.
Appearing for the suspect as a counsel, Kalinga Indatissa PC pleaded with the Court to grant bail under any conditions while assuring that the suspect will not interfere with the investigators or influence the witnesses.
The Colombo Magistrate on August 14 issued an order banning Senanayake from travelling abroad for a period of three months. Officer-In-Charge of the Sports Offences Investigation Unit, Supun Vidanage and its Director Jayanath Wanasinghe also appeared in Court. Attorney-at-Laws Waseem Akram and Lalith Piyum Perera also appeared for the suspect.