ICC-appointed Appeals Commissioner Justice John Hansen on Wednesday confirmed that Sachin Tendulkar's word counted in his decision to clear Harbhajan of racial abuse and drop charges against him.
"A viewing of the video shows that people were moving around but certainly Mr Tendulkar appears to have been closest to Mr Singh in the course of the heated exchange we are concerned with. Contrary to reports that Mr Tendulkar heard nothing he told me he heard a heated exchange and wished to calm Mr Singh down. His evidence was that there was swearing between the two. It was initiated by Mr Symonds. That he did not hear the word "monkey" or "big monkey" but he did say he heard Mr Singh use a term in his native tongue "teri maki" which appears to be pronounced with a "n". He said this is a term that sounds like "monkey" and could be misinterpreted for it," a copy of the judgement released by the International Cricket Council said.
Harbhajan was originally suspended for three matches by match referee Mike Procter after being found guilty of racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds during the second Test in Sydney.
The more serious charge of racial abuse had been downgraded to a lesser charge of using abusive language at Tuesday's appeal hearing in Adelaide and Harbhajan was fined 50 per cent of his match fees.
Hansen also blamed Andrew Symonds for provoking Harbhajan.
"Andrew Symonds approached Harbhajan Singh and told him that he had no friends amongst the Australians (he admits he used the word 'fuck' or a derivation thereof). Singh used similar language to Symonds and neither took offence at that stage.
"However the exchange caused Singh to become angry and he motioned to Symonds to come towards him. Singh then said something to Symonds," the statement said.
It also adds that Harbhajan never used the word 'monkey' or 'big monkey'.
The BCCI had raised the stakes by announcing on Monday that the Indian team would be called back home if the racial charge was not withdrawn against Harbhajan.
However, Cricket Australia bore scathing attack from its furious players and local media for bowing down to the BCCI's "money power" and letting Harbhajan off the hook with minimal punishment.