|Pinki Pramanik (left) and the woman who has alleged that she had been raped by the athlete
The woman at the centre of one of the most sordid sagas in recent times has finally broken her silence. The petite 23-year-old who has accused Asian Games gold-medallist runner Pinki Pramanik of rape, leading to the athlete’s arrest and subsequent appalling treatment at the hands of police and government medical staff, tells a story that is at the same time lurid and full of ambiguity.
The mother of one who until recently lived with Pramanik in her home in Kolkata’s Baguihati locality, met this reporter in secret at a restaurant in Esplanade in central Kolkata.
Throughout the interview she insisted on referring to Pinki as ‘he’ even though three medical tests have not yielded conclusive evidence to suggest that the gold-medalist runner is male. The woman, whose name we are withholding given the nature of the case, is of small build, petite rather than frail.
She has what the matrimonial columns would describe as a ‘wheatish’ complexion, clear skin, wavy hair, and bags under her large eyes. She said she first met Pinki after the athlete had befriended her husband, an IT consultant with a multinational firm, in 2009.
She spoke of boozy addas at their home and revealed that Pinki was referred to as ‘sahib’ by all those who knew her and as ‘Prem’ back in her village. The woman insists that till such time she believed Pinki to be a woman who was getting close to her husband, adding that Pramanik once showed a phone recording of her husband confessing to his past liaisons.
“I was shocked to find that my husband had been sharing stories about his past love affairs with Pinki. These were stories that he hadn’t even told me.” The woman says she had several bitter quarrels with her husband over what he had told Pinki. It was because of these repeated fights that, she says, that they parted ways.
“I’m not divorced but I don’t know where my husband has gone. He walked out on me, leaving me helpless and alone, with no money to even pay for the rent.” She refused to divulge his name. Left alone and homeless, Pinki took her in.
This was in 2010. When asked why did she not move in with her parents in Burdwan, she said the family had inexplicably disowned her. “He (Pinki) became a friend in need. We developed a close bond. Pinki sympathised with me. He gave me room in his house. He cheered me up when I felt betrayed by my husband. But there was never any love affair between us.
I still thought he was a woman.” It was a few days after moving in, the woman claimed, that she came to know Pinki was a man. “One night, not long after that, Pinki forcibly had sex with me. After that he continued to force me. He would torture and beat me. He would hit me if I refused.” The woman has written in her FIR (filed on June 14) that she was raped and tortured by Pinki from 2010 to 2012, an allegation strongly refuted by Pinki’s lawyer Tuhin Bose.
“If the woman was being tortured, why did she wait so long before going to the police? If she was raped, wouldn’t she have left Pinki’s house earlier?” But the woman says she endured the torture because her parents had disowned her, and she had nowhere to go. “Where would I stay with my little daughter?” In any case, Pinki didn’t allow me to go out of the house for days together,” she said.
Here on, the narrative gets even more confusing with the woman alleging that Pinki who has a job with the Railways, started extorting money from her and that Pinki’s father once tried to get this woman to cough up money saying that only then would her let her marry Pinki.
This sits oddly with her assertion that she was not in a relationship with Pinki. Pinki’s lawyers deny the charges with counter-allegations of their own. Tuhin Bose says the trouble started when Pinki, who had given refuge to the woman in 2010, asked her to move out earlier this year.
“When Pinki told her to find another house for herself, the woman demanded Rs 20 lakh and an apartment in return for leaving her alone,” Bose said. “The woman made a video of Pinki when she was sleeping, and started blackmailing her with it. She has even submitted the video to the police. It’s either some sort of pre-planned vendetta, or there is some other brain who is forcing this woman to victimise Pinki,” he added.
Curious case of Pinki Pramanik's Gender
Parmanik wins a gold in 4 X 400 m relay in Asian Indoor Games held in Pattaya
Wins a gold in 4 X 400 m relay in Doha Asian Games, followed by a silver in Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and three gold medals in 400 m, 800 m and 4 X 400 m relay in Colombo 2009 Retires from athletics after a string of injuries
JUNE 14: West Bengal police arrests Pramanik after her female live-in partner in Kolkata claims that the Asian Games Gold medalist raped her, and is actually a male
JUNE 15: Calls the accusations a conspiracy and refuses to take a gender test, remanded to a 14-day judicial custody
JUNE 16: The Eastern Railway, with which the athlete is a ticket collector, suspends Pramanik
JUNE 19: The athlete’s gender test at a West Bengal-run hospital goes inconclusive
JUNE 25: An 11-member medical board consisting of doctors from the Kolkata’s SSKM Hospital conducts several tests on Pinki, the results were inconclusive
JULY 3: The 29-second clip of the gender test at SSKM, showing Pramanik completely naked goes viral on the internet
JULY 6: Calcutta HC directs WB govt to file an affidavit in two weeks on the progress of investigation to determine Pramanik’s gender