India spinner Harbhajan Singh was facing a lengthy ban from cricket on Sunday after being accused of slapping national team-mate Shanthakumaran Sreesanth during a domestic Twenty20 match.
Harbhajan allegedly slapped Sreesanth soon after a match in Mohali on Friday night, leaving the young paceman weeping inconsolably in full view of television cameras.
Harbhajan, who was leading Mumbai, later apologised to Punjab's Sreesanth and the two appeared to have made up by calling each other "brothers."
But the Punjab team management lodged a formal complaint against Harbhajan to tournament officials.
The spinner, 27, was suspended from the tournament pending a hearing by match referee Farokh Engineer in New Delhi on Monday, which means Harbhajan will miss Mumbai's next match later on Sunday night.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed it will take separate action against Harbhajan, who is on its payroll as a centrally contracted player, under International Cricket Council rules.
"Indiscipline will not be tolerated and the player will face the consequences for what he has done," BCCI official Ratnakar Shetty told AFP.
Harbhajan will be charged under level 4 of the ICC's Code of Conduct which deals with assaulting a fellow player. If found guilty, he could be banned for life or five Test matches or 10 one-day internationals.
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a statement Harbhajan had been "called upon to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him."
Harbhajan was banned for three Tests earlier this year after being found guilty of making racist remarks against Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, but was let off with a fine following an appeal to the ICC.
Sreesanth, 24, has also faced disciplinary action in the past for misbehaviour on the field, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the BCCI.
"We have warned Sreesanth in the past to behave himself and will do so again," said Shetty. "We want to first find out what transpired on Friday night."
Former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody, who is coaching the Punjab team, said the incident was "unacceptable."
"At the end of the day, players shake hands. But what we saw was something you don't want to see," Moody said.
"The positive thing is that Harbhajan had a long chat with Sreesanth. But I am not sure what ramifications this incident will have."
Harbhajan was quoted a saying that the media was trying to sensationalise the issue.
"It is not such a big issue the way people are making it out to be," he said on television. "It is between me and Sree. What you're showing on TV, it is between us."