Modi dumps $3.3m civil case against Chris Cairns

By Simon Plumb, Andrew Alderson

Indian billionaire Lalit Modi has called off his multimillion-dollar civil claim against Chris Cairns. Photo / Chris Gorman,AP
Indian billionaire Lalit Modi has called off his multimillion-dollar civil claim against Chris Cairns. Photo / Chris Gorman,AP

Indian billionaire Lalit Modi has called off his multimillion-dollar civil claim against Chris Cairns.

The Weekend Herald can reveal that entrepreneur Modi, the former boss of the Indian Premier League, has dropped his $3.3 million claim against the former Black Caps star and given up trying to claw back costs from a libel suit Cairns won in 2012.

Modi's lawyer, Rajesh Vyakarnam, said: "Lalit will not be pursuing the civil claim. He has taken the decision to draw a line under this matter."

A month since Cairns was cleared of perjury in a marathon, eight-week trial at Southwark Crown Court in the UK, the latest twist - in a saga which dates back to 2010 - means Cairns' legal worries now finally appear over.

The development is sure to be a relief for Cairns, who has described his reputation as "completely scorched" and spoke of going through "hell" during the perjury trial.

Cairns, who has relocated his family to Canberra, declined comment when contacted by the Weekend Herald yesterday, but his UK solicitor, Rhory Robertson, last night confirmed a Notice of Discontinuance had been filed by Modi to halt proceedings.

After Cairns was acquitted, a UK newspaper claimed the Kiwi would be heading back to the High Court in London this year to defend a £1.5 million civil claim from Modi.

Modi issued a statement through his solicitors saying he was considering his options in light of the new evidence since the 2012 libel trial - in particular, accounts from New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum, former Black Cap Lou Vincent and Vincent's ex-wife, Elly Riley, who alleged Cairns' involvement in corruption.

Cairns has always denied any wrongdoing.

In a civil court the burden of proof is weighed on "the balance of probabilities" compared to the higher threshhold of "beyond reasonable doubt" in a criminal court.

Modi's case was expected to hinge heavily on getting McCullum, Vincent and Riley to testify.

Even then, Modi's hopes of winning could have been undermined by the fact that the credibility of Vincent - a self-confessed cheat - came under attack during the trial.

Cairns' defence lawyer in the trial, Orlando Pownall, QC, also highlighted inconsistencies from McCullum. McCullum alleged Cairns approached him about match-fixing in 2008, but did not report the information to the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit until 2011.

Garth Gallaway, who represents McCullum, said: "It is a personal matter for Mr Modi, and in reality has nothing to do with Brendon. Accordingly, Brendon has no comment to make."

Lou Vincent also said he had no comment.

The Cairns saga

January 2010: Former IPL boss Lalit Modi makes allegations on Twitter that Chris Cairns was involved in match-fixing during the Indian Champions League in 2008.

March 2012: Cairns sues Modi for libel and is awarded $174,000 in damages and $775,000 in court costs.

December 2013: Reports reveal Cairns and former Black Caps Lou Vincent and and Daryl Tuffey are under ICC investigation over alleged match-fixing. Vincent admits his guilt. Cairns and Tuffey deny any wrongdoing.

March 2014: Cairns' friend Andrew Fitch-Holland, who gave evidence at the 2012 libel trial, is arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

May 2014: Details of confidential statements from Vincent and Brendon McCullum leak into the media, with McCullum citing

"Player X" approached him in 2008 over a fix.

July 2014: Vincent admits to cheating and receives lifetime ban.

September 2014: Cairns is charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice over 2012 libel trial. Fitch-Holland is charged with perverting the course of justice.

December 2015: Cairns and Fitch-Holland are both found not guilty.

January 2016: Modi drops his planned civil case against Cairns.

- NZ Herald

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