Pawar rubbishes blackmail charge against BCCI

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New Delhi, Feb.2 : Board of Control for Cricket in India BCCI) President Sharad Pawar has rubbished reports of the BCCI esorting to blackmailing Cricket Australia officialdom into ubmission over the Harbhajan Singh racial abuse case.

Pawar told Karan Thapar in the Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-BN, that no financial clout was used to get a favourable verdict or Harbhajan Singh, and added that the judgement was that of the nternational Cricket Council (ICC).

"Australian media projected that we blackmailed the ICC by using ur financial clout. We had not blackmailed ICC or anybody. It is bit funny after the matter was resolved, we have been accused f bulldozing the ICC. We have not issued a threat to pull out of he tour. So, where is the question of blackmailing anybody, eave alone ICC," Pawar told Thapar.

"I was authorised to take any appropriate decision. I have said t is difficult for the board to digest that an Indian player ould be charged of racial abuse and still playing on a cricket iled.

Pawar said the board will not tolerate any unsporting behaviour y the players and warned them against using abusive language in uture.

"They are ambassadors of the country. They should behave roperly. We have told them the board will take serious view of ny behaviour unbecoming of an Indian," he said.

"See (Rahul) Dravid, (Anil) Kumble and (Sachin) Tendulkar, they re respected the world over for their on-field conduct. They hould be role models for other cricketers," Pawar added.

When asked whether the BCCI handled the issue properly, he said he whole country appreciated the stand taken by it.

"We were absolutely confident that Harbhajan did not use any acially abusive language, we were confident to get a favourable erdict from the Appeals Commissioner (New Zealand Judge John ansen). I was told by Sachin Tendulkar that Harbhajan had not sed any racially abusive language. He had used a Punjabi gali'," he said.

Pawar reiterated that an Appeals Judge could not have taken new vidence which was not considered by the lower authority.

"Collection of evidence is done by the lower court, that is the ormal legal procedure. When a matter goes to superior court, it gain considers all the evidence collected by the lower court and akes a decision. The Appeals court can not consider additional vidence," he said.

The BCCI chief also refused to cast motives on the Australian layers and denied that they were targeting Harbhajan to "trap" im.

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