Sri Lanka sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe
Roshan Ranasinghe said a vehicle imported by him was seized by the authorities under the pretext of tax manipulation to frame him on false charges. File photo: X/Ranasinghe

Sri Lankan sports minister sacked after he says his 'life is at risk'

Colombo, Nov 27 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday sacked Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, hours after he claimed that his "life is at risk" for "highlighting corruption" in the country's chaotic cricket administration and said that if anything happens to him, the president and his chief of staff should be held responsible.

Ranasinghe was handed the termination letter, signed by President Wickremesinghe, as he arrived to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The letter states that Ranasinghe has been removed from the portfolios of Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, and Minister of Irrigation, with immediate effect.

Earlier in the day, Ranasinghe told Parliament that Wickremesinghe was trying to frame him for political vengeance and using false facts related to a vehicle.

The minister said a vehicle imported by him was seized by the authorities under the pretext of tax manipulation to frame him on false charges.

“Is this the reward I get for highlighting corruption in cricket? I took action based on audit reports,” Ranasinghe said, referring to his move to appoint an interim committee to run the Sri Lankan cricket administration.

He further questioned why the President is taking political revenge, when he, as the Sports Minister, had only exposed corruption.

“My life is at risk, I may be killed today or tomorrow. If something were to happen to me, the President and his advisor Sagala Ratnayake (Chief of Presidential Staff) should be held responsible,” Ranasinghe was quoted as saying by news website

He accused Wickremesinghe of trying to fix him for exposing corruption in Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and sacking its management.

Following his termination, Ranasinghe visited the sports ministry to thank his staff and bid farewell.

Speaking to reporters, he said his fight to end corruption in sports would continue.

Earlier this month, Ranasinghe had sacked the SLC management and appointed former World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga as head of a seven-member interim committee to govern the cricket board but the Court of Appeal restored it a day later.

However, after the Sri Lankan Parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling for the sacking of the country's cricket governing body led to government interference, the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Sri Lanka.

The chaos in Sri Lankan cricket came after the national team's early exit from the World Cup. Sri Lanka, which won the ICC World Cup in 1996, finished ninth out of the ten teams in 2023.

President Wickremesinghe had advised Ranasinghe against appointing an interim committee, warning him of a possible ICC action. PTI

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)
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