Rape charge slapped on Pinki

The police chargesheet against Asian Games gold medallist Pinki Pramanik refers to her as a man, on the basis of medical reports, and accuses the athlete of rape, gender fraud, assault, cheating and intimidating her live-in partner.

The 204-page chargesheet was submitted at the Barasat chief judicial magistrate's court on Monday afternoon. It quotes a medical report as stating she "is quite capable of doing intercourse like a normal male".

The woman with whom Pinki had been living for three years lodged a complaint on June 13 alleging that she had been raped repeatedly. The 27-year-old athlete was arrested the next day, kept in jail custody for 26 days and made to undergo several rounds of gender tests. Her blood samples were sent for chromosome tests.

On Monday, Pinki reiterated her allegation that she was being framed. "They are trying to force me to commit suicide," she said.

"The chargesheet says Pinki is a man and the charges levelled at her by the woman she lived with are correct," said Santamoy Bose, the additional public prosecutor at the Barasat court.

If proved guilty, the former athlete could be jailed for up to 10 years.

The 11-member medical board that conducted tests on Pinki said she had "male pseudohermaphroditism", in which "genetic males manifest female configurations and identities".

"We had stated in the medical report submitted to the police that Pinki's condition was male pseudohermaphroditism," SSKM medical superintendent Tamal Kanti Ghosh said on Monday.

The biotechnology department of the West Bengal University of Technology, Salt Lake, had conducted her karyotype test, which looked at the structure, number and arrangement of chromosomes found in a sample of cells. "The test has revealed that Pinki has a 46XY chromosome," said a doctor at SSKM involved in the test. Women have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX) while males have two distinct sex chromosomes (XY).

According to the SSKM doctor, the report showed Pinki's chromosome pattern might be male but anatomically she had both female and male organs, some of which were incomplete.

Niloo Sherpa, the deputy commissioner of the Bidhannagar detective department, which had been investigating the case, said the chargesheet was based on the accounts of the victim and witnesses and medical reports by SSKM and an institute in Delhi.

The chargesheet doesn't mean that Pinki, a railway ticket collector posted at Sealdah station, will be stripped of her medals. It could well be that she was a woman when she won her medals, athletics officials said.

"Her gender was not questioned when she was competing. It has been five years since she quit. Sexual changes may have occurred in her body after that," said C.K. Bansal, the secretary of the Athletics Federation of India, from Chennai.

He added that if a fellow athlete or a sports official who had definite grounds for complaining against Pinki did so to the federation, citing a court order that states she is a man, the federation would ask for the medical records and run an independent check.

"Then we will submit our findings to the International Association of Athletics Federations, which will decide whether action will be taken against her. Without any complaint, it is unlikely that any action will be taken against Pinki now, even if it is proved that she is a man," said Bansal.

The alleged victim said she was "overjoyed". "The chargesheet corroborates my statements. This proves that Pinki has not only cheated me but also the nation," she said.

The athlete had won the 4x400m relay gold in the 2006 Doha Asian Games. "A specialist in 400m and 800m, Pinki had won five golds and a silver in international track events between 2005 and 2006. In 2007, she was barred from running in a national meet at Madurai. The official reason was excess of male hormones in her body," said Debashis Banerjee, who was an observer at the Doha games.