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BCCI welcomes judgement on Harbhajan appeal

January 29, 2008 14:33 IST

BCCI president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday described as "proper" the judgement given by ICC Appeals Commissioner John Hansen, who decided to drop the racial charges against Harbhajan Singh and lifted the three-Test ban on him.

"The judge has given a proper judgement. BCCI was consistently taking only one stand that it was practically impossible for us to accept the racist charges against any Indian player. And the honourable judge has accepted BCCI's view and racist charges have been dropped," Pawar told reporters in New Delhi.

Pawar praised VR Manohar, the BCCI-appointed lawyer for Harbhajan in the hearing against the three-match ban, for his support.

"I thank Mr [VR] Manohar. He has done well. He did not even charge us any fee and worked on honorary basis and worked for the player's cause," Pawar said.

In Adelaide, Hansen, a New Zealand High Court Judge, heard Harbhajan's appeal against the ban slapped on him by Match Referee Mike Procter on charges of racial abuse.

Manohar, who took part in the hearing via tele-conferencing, said it was proved that Harbhajan did not say anything racial.

"Racial remark is a very big crime. He [Harbhajan] has been acquitted from that and now he has been charged for other type of abuse," Manohar told reporters in Mumbai after the hearing.

"He himself admitted that he abused Symonds but said he did not call Symonds a 'monkey' or a 'big monkey'. The court did not accept [Symonds' claim]," he added.

Manohar said BCCI was concerned about its image and fought for it.

"BCCI only said that the racial abuse charges against Harbhajan affected its image and the nation."

While welcoming the outcome of the hearing, chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar demanded action against match referee Procter, who found Harbhajan guilty and slapped a three-Test ban on him.

"The racist tag has been removed and it is a good thing for us. Full marks to BCCI for standing behind Harbhajan the entire time," he toldĀ a television channel.

"Procter has not done his duty properly. I would like to know what action is being taken against him," he said.

Vengsarkar backed the Indian players for defying sledging by the mighty Australians during the recently-concluded four-match Test series.

"Indians are not the first to sledge their opponents but again we would not take anything lying down. It's very clear in the message," he said.

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