rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Lalit Modi loses libel case, must pay Cairns 90,000 pounds

Lalit Modi loses libel case, must pay Cairns 90,000 pounds

Last updated on: March 26, 2012 16:46 IST

Lalit Modi's cup of woes seems to be overflowing.

The axed IPL Commissioner lost a libel case to former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns on Monday and will have to pay 90,000 pounds (app Rs 73 lakh) in damages to the all-rounder.

Neither party was present when the verdict -- which is open to appeal -- was announced in the High Court in London.

Modi had accused Cairns of being involved in match-fixing during the rebel Indian Cricket League in 2008.

Lalit ModiThe embattled administrator will now have to cough up a part of the damages within the next 28 days and has until April 20 to file an appeal.

"Your client is a man of some means, you'll need to persuade me on a stay," the court said, when Modi's lawyer asked for a stay on damages.

Cairns was captain of Chandigarh Lions in the Indian Cricket League but his contract was terminated in October 2008, during the third edition of the tournament. The official reason given was that Cairns had breached the terms of his contract by failing to disclose an ankle injury.

In his capacity as IPL commissioner at that point, Modi had made these allegations on Twitter in 2010 while justifying the decision to keep Cairns out of the league.

Cairns, 41, then sued Modi, stating that "the claim was untrue and therefore libelous, and had damaged his reputation".

After hearing the arguments from both sides in a nine-day trial, Justice David Bean of the London High Court ruled in favour of Cairns.     Justice Bean, who was hearing the case without a jury, also awarded Cairns 400,000 pounds in interim costs, which Modi will have to pay within 28 days.

The judge said Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing, or even strong grounds for suspicion of cheating.

"It is obvious that an allegation that a professional cricketer is a match-fixer goes to the core attributes of his personality and, if true, entirely destroys his reputation for integrity," Justice Bean said.

"The allegation is not as serious as one of involvement in terrorism or sexual offences. But it is otherwise as serious an allegation as anyone could make against a professional sportsman," the judge said.

Modi's legal team told the court Cairns was corrupt but the Kiwi insisted his ICL dismissal was due to an ankle injury which he did not declare.

Cairns said the match-fixing allegation put a strain on his marriage as well.

"It had a profound effect on my personal and private life," Cairns told the court.

In his four-hour closing summary, Cairns's lawyer, Andrew Caldecott QC, had stated that his client had been made "a scapegoat of convenience".

Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

© Copyright 2014 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.