Harbhajan - Sreesanth row May 8, 2008

BCCI gags probe commissioner

Cricinfo staff

The BCCI has asked Sudhir Nanavati, its probe commissioner, not to go public with his observations during his investigation into the controversial incident after an Indian Premier League match last month when Harbhajan Singh slapped Sreesanth, his India team-mate and IPL rival.

Nanavati has also been asked to refrain from commenting publicly on the issue even after he has submitted his fact-finding report to the BCCI next week, a senior BCCI official told Cricinfo.

Nanavati had told reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday that he was "shocked" after viewing the video clipping of the incident after the match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on April 25. He had also reportedly said that he thought Harbhajan's action "looks pre-meditated".

"The inquiry commissioner especially should not be going public about his observations during the probe. This is a fact-finding mission for the BCCI and the observations of the one-man probe panel are not for public consumption," the official said.

Nanavati, who is also vice-president of the Gujarat Cricket Association and chairman of the BCCI's finance committee, is expected to submit his report on the incident to Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president on Monday. Pawar will refer the findings to a disciplinary panel, which he heads, for action against Harbhajan, if any.

Harbhajan, who was leading the Mumbai franchise in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, was banned for the first season of the tournament by the IPL after Farokh Engineer, the match referee, found the off-spinner guilty of slapping Sreesanth, the fast bowler for the rival team.

However, the BCCI ordered a separate investigation into the incident as Harbhajan is a contracted player with the Indian board, and asked Nanavati, the probe commissioner, to submit his report within 15 days.