India spin bowler Harbhajan Singh has been banned for three Tests for making a racist remark during their defeat by Australia in Sydney. Match referee Mike Procter found him guilty of breaching the players' Code of Conduct after a four-hour hearing. It was claimed that Harbhajan called Australia's Andrew Symonds a "monkey". Procter said he was satisfied Harbhajan had used the word and that "he meant it to offend on the basis of Symonds' race or ethnic origin". All-rounder Symonds, 32, is the only non-white player in the Australian side. India team manager Chetan Chauhan believes the spinner has been harshly treated, but confirmed the remainder of the tour was not under threat. "I told the match referee this is wrong. There was no conclusive evidence from the Aussie side," he said. Harbhajan, who was accompanied at the hearing by Chauhan, assistant manager Dr MV Sridhar, captain Anil Kumble and batsman Sachin Tendulkar, will appeal against the decision. "Both Harbhajan and BCCI will appeal against the ban within 24 hours," said Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president, Rajeev Shukla. Harbhajan will be able to continue playing until the verdict of an appeal is known, but if the verdict is upheld, he will miss the two remaining Tests in Australia, and the first of the next series involving the team. Harbhajan, 27, has played for India since 1998 and has taken a combined total of almost 450 international wickets in all forms of the game. But he was batting with Tendulkar when the incident took place at the end of the 116th over during the third day's play at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It prompted Australian captain Ricky Ponting to complain to on-field umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor, whom subsequently laid a charge under section 3.3 of the code of conduct. The section refers to the use of "language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, gender, colour, descent, or national or ethic origin". The International Cricket Council has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism. And an ICC statement outlining the verdict against Harbhajan said: "In all pre-series meetings, the ICC match referees are instructed to advise captains that they are to report any instance of racism - whether on or off the field - to the umpires as soon as possible after its occurrence." The decision is unlikely to improve relations between the two teams ahead of the third Test, which begins in Perth on 16 January. It came only hours after Chauhan described the umpires as "incompetent" for making a series of mistakes and Kumble hit out at the Australian team for not playing within the spirit of the game, which India lost by 122 runs. "I have been informed by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) that they are lodging a strong protest with the ICC, so that some of the incompetent umpires do not umpire in the rest of the series," Chauhan said. India have reacted to Harbhajan's ban by lodging their own complaint against Australia's Brad Hogg for allegedly making an abusive comment to one of their players, according to reports. Harbhajan is the first player punished for a racist remark since South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs was suspended for one Test, one limited overs international and a Twenty20 match 12 months ago after he was caught on a stump microphone talking about Pakistan fans. Five years ago, Australia's Darren Lehmann was suspended for five one-day matches after he was found guilty of shouting a "racially-motivated obscenity" after he was run out during a game against Sri Lanka.