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Hansen to admit stump microphone evidence in Harbhajan hearing

Last updated on: January 28, 2008 12:00 IST

The Harbhajan Singh ban issue took a new twist on Monday with the ICC-appointed commissioner saying that "additional evidence" could be admissible in the hearing scheduled for January 29 and 30 in Adelaide.

"There may be some additional evidence, such as the transcript available from the stump microphone, which was not available to Mr (Mike) Procter," stated Justice John Hansen, serving judge in the New Zealand High Court, while outlining the procedures he would be adopting on the hearing over the next two days.

This gives a new twist to the whole saga with now the possibility of some evidence being available to the commissioner which could put Harbhajan and Sachin Tendulkar in dock.

Harbhajan was slapped with a three-match ban by Procter after the Sydney Test for allegedly racially abusing Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds whose point was supported by three members of his team.

The version of Sachin Tendulkar, batting partner of Harbhajan during the incident, supporting the off-spinner was not taken into account.

If indeed some fresh evidence emerges which weakens the case of Harbhajan and allows the ban to continue, the forthcoming triangular series could be in jeopardy as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has time and again threatened to pull out of the tour over the issue.

The procedures, outlined by Justice Hansen, states that there will be a re-hearing with the evidence being given by all of the witnesses.

The hearing, to be held in private at the Federal Court in Adelaide from Tuesday, will give an opportunity to both the counsels to cross-examine the witnesses though it being a sporting disciplinary hearing, the evidence will not be on oath.

Justice Hansen declared that soon after he arrived at a decision, he would forward his ruling to Harbhajan, Procter and the chief executive of the ICC.

According to sources, even Sachin Tendulkar, who claimed in the hearing that he didn't hear anything to the effect, could be in dock and the evidence could prove it.

If Harbhajan was to prove guilty and the Indian board was to carry its threat, the damages for abandoning the tour could amount to 2.3 million Australian dollars as penalty.

Ashish Shukla
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