Twenty-five days after her arrest on rape charge, athlete Pinki Pramanik, who had represented the country at various international meets, was granted bail by a court in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on Tuesday.
Ms. Pramanik will be released on Wednesday from Dum Dum Central Correctional Home, where she was lodged on June 14.
The District and Sessions Judge of Barasat Court ruled that she be released on bail on a bond of Rs. 5,000, as necessary investigations and medical tests to ascertain her gender were over.
Counsel for Ms. Pramanik said the court, which had access to the tests conducted on the athlete, said the charge against the athlete “initially does not stand.”
“We had argued from the first day that Ms. Pramanik cannot commit a crime like rape. The court, while granting bail, upheld that,” said Tuhin Roy, a counsel of Ms. Pramanik.
Counsel said the court accepted their argument that the petitioner — the woman who had alleged that Ms. Pramanik raped her — was engaged in a live-in relationship with the athlete for nearly three years. So the relationship between the two was consensual in nature, Mr. Roy said.
Reports of the chromosomal tests to determine Ms. Pramanik’s gender had, however, not reached the court when she was granted bail. They had reached the SSKM Hospital here on Monday and were supposed to be sent to the court during the day.
Questions were raised on the gender of the athlete following the rape charge and a subdivisional district court directed that necessary tests be conducted to ascertain her gender. The tests conducted at the district hospital were inconclusive and she was taken to the SSKM Hospital where an 11-member medical board carried out tests.
Meanwhile, a four-member team of the West Bengal Commission for Women, led by its chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee, met the athlete in prison during the day.
“After speaking to her, we realised that there have been several instances of violation of women rights. Ms. Pramanik was kept in the prison without any female police personnel and was referred to as a male in police records,” she said.
Earlier, representatives of civil rights groups and sportspersons raised concern over Ms. Pramanik’s alleged mistreatment at the hands of the police.
While the Calcutta High Court had asked the State government to file an affidavit in connection with the case, the West Bengal Human Rights Commission asked for a report from the State’s Home Secretary and the Director General of Police.