In a sensational development, Asian Games gold medal-winning athlete Pinki Pramanik was detained by police after a complaint was made that she is a male and has allegedly raped a woman, police said Thursday.
Following her refusal to go for a sex determination test at a government hospital, she would again be produced before the court Friday. The court Thursday had allowed the police to go for the test.
A six-member medical board was constituted for the test at the Barasat sub-divisional hospital in North 24 Parganas but she refused to go for it.
“Pramanik has been detained after we received a complaint by a woman who said that the athlete is a man and accused him of torturing, raping and trying to kill her,” Deputy Commissioner, Bidhannagar (North 24 Parganas) Subrata Bandyopadhyay said.
“We approached the court Thursday seeking permission for medical test to determine the gender of the athlete and the same has been granted. The test will be conducted at the Barasat sub-divisional hospital shortly,” added Bandyopadhyay.
The alleged victim, a divorcee and a mother of one, who had been living with Pramanik since the last several months, in her police complaint, alleged that the athlete had coerced her to a live-in relationship promising marriage. She has alleged that she was often beaten, tortured and frequently raped.
Following the complaint, Pramanik was taken to a private nursing home for a medical checkup where the test reports showed that the athlete was indeed a male.
“The reports conducted by us show that Pramanik is a male,” said Subrata Mukherjee of Uma Nursing Home where the test was conducted.
The athlete refused to undergo a second test at a government hospital and claimed it was a conspiracy to frame her.
“It’s a clear case of conspiracy,” said Pramanik adding that she took part in major international events, where medical tests to determine her gender have already been done.
Pramanik won gold in 4×400 meters relay at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha (Qatar). She was a silver medalist at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games the same year.
Now a ticket collector with the Eastern Railway, she retired from athletics three years ago.
She courted controversy earlier when an unauthorised gun was found from her possession at a railway station.
The revelation has also shocked the sport’s governing body.
“I am totally shocked. She has participated in major international events where medical tests are mandatory. I agree that gender verification test is a complex process but how can people go wrong everywhere? Pramanik also had a medical (examination) before she joined the Railways,” West Bengal Athletics Association secretary Kamal Moitra said.
The association has called an executive committee meeting Friday to decide the future course of action.
“If it is medically proved that Pramanik is not a female then we have very little ground to pursue the case,” added Moitra.
While heptathlete Soma Biswass refused to suspect her sexuality, veteran coach and Dronacharya awardee Kuntal Roy said he had his doubts.
“I have never coached her, but to be honest I always had my doubts. In fact, it’s a surprise to me that no one had raised a question in international events,” Roy said.