(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Former national cricketer Sachithra Senanayake was arrested this morning after he surrendered to the Special Investigation Unit of the Ministry of Sports. He is to be produced before the Colombo Magistrate shortly.
His arrest was following the Attorney General’s (AG) Department’s directive to press criminal charges against the former cricketer as “sufficient materials have been disclosed in terms of the Prevention of Offences related to Sports Act No. 24 of 2019”.
Three weeks ago, the Colombo Magistrate’s Court slapped a travel ban on the 38-year-old former Sri Lanka spinner and his passport was impounded after the AG’s Department asked for more time to investigate an incident from the 2020 Lanka Premier League (LPL). It will be in place till October 16, when the case is due to be taken up.
The former T20 World Cup-winning cricketer is reported to have approached two cricketers participating in the first edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) in 2020 via phone calls from Dubai, allegedly to entice them to fix matches. This is a criminal offence in Sri Lanka.
Senanayake has refuted this allegation claiming there were attempts to defame and slander him. He has vehemently denied any connection between him and the reports.
In a statement issued in 2020, he threatened action against those who published, disseminated or shared “such unsubstantiated and manifestly frivolous allegations bringing myself, my cricket and my family into public ridicule, shame, detriment and damage”.
However, after examining the evidence received from the SIU, the AG’s Department has reminded the SIU that, under the said Act, it has the authority to take charge of the accused’s mobile phone and also to direct mobile service providers to call up detailed records without obtaining a court order.
Corruption in sports was made a punishable offence by the enactment of the Prevention of Offences Related to Sports Act in 2019. This will be the first case that goes to trial since the enactment of the law. If proven guilty, Senanayake on conviction will be liable to a fine not exceeding Rs. 100mn or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both.
He took 78 international wickets in 73 white-ball matches for Sri Lanka. He was wicketless in his only Test played against Pakistan in 2013/2014.