New Delhi: A Supreme Court-appointed panel submitted its final report on alleged betting and spot-fixing in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to the apex court on Monday. 

The report, submitted in a sealed cover by senior lawyer Raju Ramachandran to a bench headed by justice T.S. Thakur, is key to the fate of the controversy-marred cricket tournament and Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan, The court will study the report, whose findings weren’t made public, before the next hearing on 10 November.

“We’ve submitted our report to the honourable Supreme Court," former justice Mukul Mudgal, who headed the panel, said. “I’m sure the honourable court will do full justice to it."

The Mudgal panel was assisted by police in its five-month investigation of Srinivasan, whose India Cements Ltd owns the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) IPL franchise, his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan as well as other officials and players.

Mint attempted to reach Srinivasan, but he was unavailable for comment on Monday.

The panel, which found Meiyappan guilty of being in touch with illegal bookmakers in preliminary investigations, also received help from other consultants, including former India captain Sourav Ganguly.

The court, which had ordered the investigation in May, gave a two-month extension to the committee after it submitted an interim report on 29 August.

Srinivasan had been asked to step aside from his role as head of the BCCI as he too was being probed following purported evidence of Meiyappan’s involvement with bookmakers.

Meiyappan was arrested by Mumbai Police and jailed for more than two weeks before receiving bail, but BCCI’s own investigation panel initially cleared Meiyappan.

Earlier this year, on 10 February, the committee had submitted a report that had transcripts of telephone conversations as annexures and suggested Meiyappan could have been involved in placing bets on matches in the 2013 IPL tournament.

Those transcripts, accessed by Mint, suggest that Meiyappan, who was described as a “mere cricket enthusiast" by Srinivasan after a BCCI meeting last year, was a member of the CSK’s team management and was involved in betting on matches in the 2013 edition of the IPL with actor Vindoo Dara Singh. Both Meiyappan and Vindoo Dara Singh are out on bail.

Meiyappan, according to Mumbai Police, also provided “information to Vindoo to aid betting". Meiyappan, interestingly, also allegedly placed heavy bets against his own team.

Mumbai Police also confirmed Meiyappan’s role as “Team Principal" in its presentation to the IPL probe committee.

It stated: “Since Gurunath Meiyappan occupied the position of Team Principal of CSK, he was privy to sensitive and inside information about his team. The investigation also reveals that he passed on such information from time to time to Vindoo Dara Singh."

Meiyappan’s alleged involvement in betting-related practices, if proven, would be in violation of the IPL’s anti-corruption code and the IPL code of conduct.

IPL rules also call for the termination of any franchisee if it or its owner “acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the league, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the franchise, the team (and other teams) and/or the game of cricket".

These clauses are also likely to apply to inaugural IPL champions Rajasthan Royals, three of whose players—former India paceman S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan—were arrested last year for alleged spot-fixing and banned for life from playing competitive cricket.

A senior official of the BCCI said on condition of anonymity that many board members wanted the rules and regulations of the IPL to be applied firmly, “whatever the consequences".

“The larger goal of the BCCI remains that everyone wants a clean and transparent game," the official said.

According to people familiar with the situation, the BCCI is unlikely to initiate action against IPL franchises without the apex court telling the board to do so.

In the event that franchises are either disbanded or terminated, these people said on condition of anonymity, a fresh auction is likely to be held to replace them.

“Everyone needs to wait and watch for the Mudgal committee report and the final decision of the Supreme Court. Having said that, while teams are scared and apprehensive, no one will take a drastic decision to pull out until the judicial verdict is out," said Indraneel Das Blah, chief operating officer of Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

The money riding on the IPL is too big for the tournament to be wound up. One season of the IPL is worth in excess of 1,000 crore. Each franchisee spends about 200 crore on the team a year.

Das Blah said: “Every year the IPL gets embroiled in some controversy or the other. The property is a juggernaut and has reached a cult status. Whatever happens off the field, as long as the product on the field is good, there will be takers."

“We have always supported the sport because of its mass appeal," said an executive at one of the sponsors associated with the league who did not want to be identified.

“The property has got a cult following and a lot of visibility. But if the brand reputation and image of the league gets tarnished, appropriate evaluation will have to be done."

Vidhi Chaudhary and Shreeja Sen contributed to this story.

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