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Last updated: 23 July, 2011 - Published 14:28 GMT
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Nishantha says 'no conflict' in CSN job

Nishantha Ranathunga
Ranathunga has taken up the CSN top post while functioning as the SLC secretary
A former senior official at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has rejected accusations of conflict of interest for taking up a senior media job while working at the SLC.

Nishantha Ranathunga, the CEO of Carlton Sports Network (CSN), told BBC Sandeshaya that the SLC was officially informed about his taking up the job with the CSN while being the secretary of the SLC.

The CSN was offered media rights by Singapore-based Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV) for the currently postponed Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL).

The deal between the SEV and the CSN was arranged while Mr Ranatunga was the secretary of the SLC, prompting accusations of conflict of interest.

The SLC signed a five-year deal with the SEV to run the SLPL.

“The SEV has held negotiations with both Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) and the MTV network but there was no interest,” Mr Ranathunga told the BBC.

SLRC 'not interested'

“It has been very difficult for example to get the SLRC to cover local cricket tournaments,” he said.

Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation
Mr Ranathunga says state run SLRC 'not supporting' local cricket tournaments

“So there is no question of conflict of interest as I did not get involved in arranging the deal.”

The SLC in a recent statement said: “The team ownership rights remains with Sri Lanka Cricket until the teams are sold to potential buyers who would pay a premium to secure the same.”

“50% of the Revenue from this sale accrues to Sri Lanka Cricket, over the period of 25 years that this ownership subsists for. A 50% share been agreed with SEV, bearing in mind that they need to invest in logistical arrangements, staffing, overseas players and other expenses which need to be incurred to build the brand image and quality of this tournament,” it added.

CSN owners

Mr Ranatunga, however, refused to reveal the names of the senior management of the CSN.

“The owner is one Mr Jayawardene, owner of a shipping company but I am not here to answer your questions about the management. I am only a worker there,” Mr Ranatunga.

Sri Lanka Cricket
SLC has signed a five-year deal with the SEV which offered local media rights to CSN

He denied any involvement of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sons, Namal, MP or Yoshitha with the CSN channel.

Meanwhile, opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera has revealed the name of its top official as Yasara Abeynayake.

The opposition has also questioned whether the SEV was registered as a company when the deal was signed with the SLC.

“I don’t remember that but as far as I'm concerned it was registered as a company before that,” was the response by Mr Ranathunga.

Head of the SEV, Sandeep M Bhammer, is yet to provide answers to the detailed questionnaire sent on 22 June.

The alleged connection betweeen the former supremo of Indian Premier League (IPL) Lalit Modi and the SEV was among the questions raised in the email sent by BBC Sinhala service to Mr Bhammer.

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