Five Indians Detained in Sri Lanka Over Match-Fixing Doubts
Officials grew suspicious after they saw the five Indian nationals talking on their phones excessively during the last One-Day International match between the women's teams of India and Sri Lanka at Katunayake Ground.
Five Indian spectators in a One-Day International match between the women’s teams of India and Sri Lanka were told to leave Katunayake Ground, near Colombo, after officials doubted their suspicious activities. They were later detained by the police for questioning regarding their excessive talks on phone during the match.
Sri Lankan cricket’s anti-corruption officials were struck with the doubt of match-fixing when they noticed the five Indians talking excessively on phone during the match on Sept.16, AFP reported.
They thought that these persons were perhaps talking to some bookies, since instead of enjoying the experience of watching the match on the ground or paying constant attention to the field, they were busy talking over their phones. This behavior of the persons alerted the officials, who felt that the whole communication was associated with betting or match fixing.
“We felt their behavior was suspicious at the grounds and all of them were seen excessively communicating on their phones,” a Sri Lankan cricket official told the news agency on the condition of anonymity.
“We exercised our right to remove them from the ground and the police took over the investigation,” the official added.
An official told PTI that when they asked them about their phone calls, they were told that they were giving match details to people back home.
After being removed from the ground, they were detained by the police for questioning, as it is sports betting is illegal in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan team beat India in the last match, but India won the tournament by 2-1.
It is not the first time when Indians have been taken out of a match venue under suspicion in the country. In August, Sri Lankan officers detained two Indian men for questioning. Those men were also making frequent calls during a T-20 match.
Sri Lanka has planned stricter laws to curb sports-related corruption, according to AFP. It has also announced a special police unit to deal with match-fixing. The crackdown was planned after an Al-Jazeera documentary that showed corruption in international cricket. It showed three Sri Lankan officials agreeing to influence the matches.