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Alan Gardner at the High Court
March 12, 2012
Three of the players named in court evidence against Chris Cairns have stood by their statements about the former New Zealand international's involvement in match-fixing during live video link evidence from India. Their testimony formed part of the sixth day of hearings in Cairns' libel case against Lalit Modi, the former commissioner of the IPL, at the High Court in London.
Cairns is suing Modi for defamation over a 2010 tweet that implicated him in fixing. Cairns denies the reason for his dismissal from the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008 was in linked to alleged corruption, maintaining that failing to disclose an ankle injury was behind his suspension.
Gaurav Gupta, Karanveer Singh and Rajesh Sharma, three of Cairns' former Chandigarh Lions team-mates who have made separate accusations against him, appeared via a video link-up from Delhi. Gupta, a batsman who played first-class cricket for Punjab, has alleged that Cairns told him to score "no more than five runs" during a match between Chandigarh and Mumbai Champs.
Questioned about evidence given by Andrew Hall, the former South Africa international who succeeded Cairns as captain of Chandigarh, Gupta denied telling Hall that the instruction had been given by Dinesh Mongia.
"No, Chris Cairns told me between the innings and on the pitch as well," Gupta said. It has previously been claimed in court that Cairns joined Gupta in the middle, with the latter on 4, and told him to "Get out now".
Karanveer, a legspinner who was 19 at the time, described a meeting in which Mongia, a former India international, allegedly told him and his father that everyone within the ICL, from "top to bottom" knew about fixing. He said that he was "shocked" and "broken from inside" to hear the Mongia's claims.
He described a subsequent conversation with Cairns that took place during training, in which Karanveer was asked if he had spoken to Mongia.
"This talk was about match-fixing, I was very much convinced," Karanveer said, though Cairns did not refer to any specific instructions. Karanveer added that he did not report either Mongia or Cairns to the ICL because he was scared that the blame would be shifted on to him.
The court also heard from Rajesh Sharma, another witness for Modi, who required the assistance of a Hindi translator to give evidence. He restated his claim that Cairns told him to "keep quiet" about match-fixing and said that he had concluded from this conversation that Cairns was involved. Cairns denies discussing fixing with Sharma.
Sharma, who has admitted to receiving money from spot-fixing, said he did not report Cairns' name to ICL executives or Hall, when questioned, because it would have become a "bigger problem" for him.
The judge, David Bean, has allowed for a break in proceedings on Tuesday before summing up speeches on behalf of the claimant and the defence begin on Wednesday. Bean will then retire to consider his verdict.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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