Harbhajan gets Twenty20 ban in slap row

India spinner Harbhajan Singh has been banned for the remainder of a domestic Twenty20 league after he was found guilty on Monday of slapping compatriot Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi told a news conference that the cricketer would be fined all of his match fees from the tournament.

The incident happened on Friday, minutes after the Mumbai team captained by Harbhajan lost to Mohali. Television cameras showed opposition paceman Sreesanth sobbing.

“As a penalty for the level 4.2 offence committed by Mr Harbhajan Singh, we hereby order that Mr Harbhajan Singh be banned for the rest of the remaining matches of the first IPL event,” Modi announced after the committee viewed the footage of the incident and interviewed the parties.

“We also order that Mr Harbhajan Singh be fined 100% of any player fee that may have been paid or may hereafter be paid to him in respect of the remaining matches only. That does not take into account any of the two earlier matches (prior to Friday) that he may have played,” Modi added.

Match referee and former India player Farokh Engineer added: “Harbhajan accepted his guilt and acknowledged he was out of order.”

Engineer said that Sreesanth (25) has also been warned to be on good behaviour.

Under the ICC code of conduct rules, a 4.2 offence refers to a physical assault and carries a minimum ban of 10 games and a maximum life ban from play.

Mumbai team manager Lalchand Rajput was found guilty of conduct contravening the spirit of the game and fined 50% of his match fee.

The Indian board also ordered an independent investigation into the slapping incident.
- Reuters

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