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No claim for money in Atapattu's room

There has been no claim for $11,500 found in the room of Marvan Atapattu during a Test match last week, a hotel official said on Monday.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2003 14:30 IST

There has been no claim for $11,500 found in the hotel room of Sri Lanka's limited-overs captain Marvan Atapattu during a Test match against England last week, a hotel official said on Monday.

"We have kept the money and are waiting for someone to claim it, but no one has come forward," Roshan Fernando, the general manager of the Earl's Regency hotel in Kandy told The Associated Press. The discovery, which was reported over the weekend, sent shock waves through this cricket-crazy country.

"Was it a bribe to fix the match," the Sunday Observer, which broke the news, said Sunday.

But Fernando said he had no evidence to suggest that the cash belonged to Atapattu.

Fernando said it was possible that other guests who stayed in the same room had left the money behind. Among them was an Italian couple, Fernando said, but could not explain why foreigners should carry such a large amount in local currency.

The Sri Lanka Cricket, worried about the possible fallout, has asked the Criminal Investigation Department to investigate. The money was found in room number 210 on Wednesday by a someone from the hotel's housekeeping department.

The Sri Lankan team left the hotel on Monday last week, a day after the Dec. 10-14 Test match, which ended in a draw. Atapattu and the Sri Lankan cricket board have denied any wrongdoing, saying the money did not belong to Atapattu.

"I have nothing to do with that money," Atapattu said. "I don't carry such huge amounts of money while playing. I don't know to whom the money belongs," Atapattu told reporters.

Atapattu, 33, has represented Sri Lanka for 12 years since making his Test debut against India at Chandigarh in the 1990-91 season.

A veteran of 68 Tests and 201 one-day-internationals, Atapattu has captained Sri Lanka in ODI's since May, after former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya stepped down to concentrate on his batting.

Sri Lankan team manager Ajith Jayasekera said the cricket board has requested a quick probe.

"It is not a sum to be forgotten and left behind," the Sunday Observer newspaper reported.

Sri Lankan players have not been involved in match-fixing like their counterparts in India, Pakistan and South Africa. Several senior Indian and Pakistani players were banned as a result of a match-fixing scandal that broke three years ago.

They were charged with accepting money from illegal bookmakers for fixing performances in several matches.

Former South African captain, Hansie Cronje, also faced such charges.

First Published: Dec 22, 2003 14:30 IST