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Charges against Harbhajan can’t be dropped now: ICC


New Delhi : India’s decision to drop charges against Australian Brad Hogg may have raised hopes of a similar reprieve for Harbhajan Singh but the ICC Monday made it clear that the case against the Indian off-spinner cannot be withdrawn at this stage.

According to ICC rules, a charge cannot be withdrawn once an Appeals Commissioner has been appointed.

Chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who acted as the peace broker during the reconciliation meeting between rival captains Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting in Perth, said, “Technically, no” when asked about whether the charge could be dropped.

ICC sources pointed out that the charges against Hogg were laid by India’s administrative manager Chetan Chauhan, who later withdrew it before the hearing.

But in Harbhajan’s case, the charges were brought by both the on-field umpires, after which ICC appointed John Hansen as the Appeals Commissioner.

“The process would go the full distance in this case”, the source said. Harbhajan was slapped with a three-match ban by Match Referee Mike Proctor who found the Indian off-spinner guilty of racially abusing Australia’s Andrew Symonds during the ill-tempered second Test in Sydney.

Harbhajan has decided to appeal against the ruling but the ICC has still not fixed a date for the hearing.