Kolkata: After spending 26 days in jail, Asian Games gold medallist athlete Pinki Pramanik, accused of being a male and committing rape, was Wednesday released from a correctional home in West Bengal’s North 24-Parganas district after getting bail a day earlier.
Pinki, in judicial custody since June 15, was granted bail by the district and sessions judge of the district.
“Even Sita Mai had to give agnipariksha (test by fire). So, I thought I was also undergoing an agniparksha,” Pinki told media persons soon after coming out of the correctional home, as jails are called in the state.
Pinki was arrested June 14 and remanded in judicial custody by a court the next day after the athlete’s live-in partner, a divorcee and a mother of one, filed a police complaint accusing the sports person of being a male who repeatedly “raped and tortured” her.
“I was framed. She (the complainant) used to do my chores. She had demanded money from me long back, but I did not give. So, all this was done,” the athlete said.
Asked who all were involved in the conspiracy, Pinki said: “I was in jail. I don’t know. I will talk to my lawyer first”.
The athlete, accompanied by her father Durgacharan Pramanik and another Asian Games gold medallist athlete, Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, exuded confidence of returning to normal life.
“Let me see, I will think about it. Let me talk to my lawyers first,” Pinki replied when asked whether she was planning to knock on the door of the legal system for getting justice.
Pinki thanked the sports persons who had held protests against the treatment meted out to her by the authorities.
“I thank all of them for doing so much for me. I read about their protests in the newspaper while in jail. I will now go to my flat,” the athlete said and later went to the Baguiati police station to get its keys.
The district and sessions judge (North 24-Parganas) while granting bail to Pinki on a personal bond of Rs.5,000, based on medical reports held that the athlete was physically incapable of committing rape, the sportsperson’s counsel Tuhin Roy said.
He said that the court accepted their argument that the petitioner women who had alleged that Pramanik had raped her, was in a live-in relationship with the athlete for nearly three years.
So, the relationship between the two was consensual in nature.
Meanwhile, the report of a chromosomal test to determine Pramanik’s gender has been submitted before the court by the premier state-run SSKM Hospital. An 11-member medical board was constituted to conduct the tests.
A four-member team of West Bengal Commission for Women led by its chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee met the former athlete in the prison Tuesday.
“Keeping her in prison without any woman police personnel and referring to her as male in police records were instances of violation of her human rights,” said Mukherjee.
The demand for Pinki’s release and protests against the way the athlete was moved from one hospital to another for determining gender and the circulation of an MMS featuring the athlete in the buff had become shriller by the day.
Subsequent to the arrest, Pinki was taken to a private nursing home for a medical check-up where the test reports claimed that the athlete was indeed a male. The athlete was taken to the Barasat district hospital and finally to the SSKM for the tests.
Pinki, who retired from athletics three years ago, won gold in the 4×400 metres relay at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha in Qatar. Pinki was a silver medallist at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games the same year.