Halambage Premasiri homicide and match fixing

Halambage Premasiri homicide and match fixing

Written by Nathasha De Alwis

30 May, 2018 | 12:22 am

Al-Jazeera in a new documentary exposed pitch-fixing at the highest level of International Cricket on Sunday (May 27). Following this expose, more details on fraud and malpractices surrounding cricket have come to light.

In August 2016, the then Secretary of the Galle Cricket Club Helambage Premasiri was shot dead, could this also be related to latest developments?

Then Secretary of the Galle Cricket Club Helambage Premasiri was shot dead while returning home with his son in a car in the Manimulla area in Ambalangoda. There were more than 10 bullet wounds in the body of Premasiri and the true motive of this killing remains a complete mystery.

Al-Jazeera’s investigation on pitch-fixing began several days before the killing of Helambage Premasiri, to be precise it was before Sri Lanka’s second test match against Australia played between the 04th and 08th of August 2016. In Al Jazeera’s documentary, Cricket’s Match-Fixers say they can make pitches to favour either bowlers or batsmen. An investigation done by Sports 1st has now revealed more startling details.

On the 3rd of February 2016, Godfrey Dabare who is currently the Manager of the International Venues and Facilities at Sri Lanka Cricket, had issued a memo to Halambage Premasiri before the second test against Australia. The internal memo calls for 15 member team be appointed as staff for the Galle International Cricket Stadium. Among the 15 names, is Tharindu Indika who is implicated in the Al Jazeera documentary for pitch-fixing.

It was this memo that states the appointment of Tharindu Indika as Assistant Manager of the Galle International Cricket Stadium for the first time. In his response to Godfrey Dabare, Halambage says it would be unwise to make any changes in staff as the current staff and curator had well over 15 years in experience.

Halambage on the 25th of February 2016, calls on Godfrey Dabare to reconsider the request given the recent match-fixing allegations against Jayananda Warnaweera causing disrepute to the Galle International Cricket Stadium.

However disregarding this letter, the 15 member staff named by Godfrey Dabare was appointed through a letter signed by the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket on the 29th of February. This letter states the appointments should be made in line with Australia’s tour. However, six days after the 2nd test against Australia on the 12th of August 2016, Halambage Premasiri was shot and killed while travelling in a car with his son.

Two people identified as Kande Kalasi Udaya Kumara also known as Podi Paul and another Dasun Manawadu continue to be placed in remand custody over the Halambage Premasiri murder. These suspects have been produced in court on a number of occasions and have returned to remand custody on every occasion, however, the true details of the crime is yet to emerge.

In a twist to this situation, relatives of remanded suspect Dasun Manawadu and Human Rights Activist raised concerns over his safety. According to the Attorney appearing for the defendants, Udul Premaratne, there is CCTV footage of the murder and it shows that two people were involved in the incident.

He added that it took one year and month to name one suspect that was involved in the incident and the reason why it took so long to name the suspect and why it took time to produce this person before court was because there were plans to assassinate him as well.

Further he stated that at the time when these suspects were being identified they were in prison for a different case, the HQI at the time used one of his agents to bail this suspect out who was already in prison. It was stated that the wife of the suspect through an affidavit had asked that an investigation be carried out as to why he was granted bail.

Pitch-Fixing, Staff transfers of the Galle Cricket Ground based on personal needs and the Halambage Premasiri murder. Is there a connection between these three incidents? More than a year and a half after the murder, details surrounding it have started to emerge.

Is it not important to ensure the investigations continue without paving the way for the crime to be concealed, at a time when many details have emerged from these documents provided to Sports 1st?

Who is allowing the truth to be undermined?

 


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