Lalit Modi, the founder of the IPL, is set to launch a £1.5 million fraud claim against Chris Cairns, the former New Zealand allrounder who was last week found not guilty of perjury at Southwark Crown Court.
Modi was successfully sued by Cairns at the High Court in 2012, an action that stemmed from an infamous tweet two years earlier, in which he stated that Cairns had been omitted from that year’s IPL draft due to his previous history of match-fixing in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League.
In the course of the High Court hearing, at the end of which Cairns was awarded £90,000 and Modi was ordered to pay costs of £1.4 million, Cairns stated that he had “never cheated at cricket and would never contemplate doing so”, words that formed the basis of the Crown Prosecution’s perjury allegation.
Despite Cairns’ acquittal, new evidence came to light during the nine-week perjury trial, with both Brendon McCullum, the current New Zealand captain, and Lou Vincent, the former batsman, testifying in court that they had been approached by Cairns to fix matches.
A civil case requires a lower standard of proof than a criminal case and so, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Modi’s lawyers are seeking to overturn the original libel verdict and sue him instead for fraud.
Cairns would be required to appear in person, although neither McCullum nor Vincent would be expected to travel back to the UK as they both live outside the jurisdiction of the court.
Asked about the prospect of a further legal battle with Modi, Cairns told Newstalk ZB radio in New Zealand: “In the words of [Winston] Churchill, it is not the end. It is not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning.
“I think a man with his means and his power, he lurks out there and I have to be very, very conscious of that. I will take stock and deal with that situation and, if it does come about, I will take it in my stride.”