Calls made for Ranjit Sinah to resign after rape comments (Reuters)

India's director of the Central Bureau of Investigation has sparked outrage after saying if victims cannot stop rape, they should enjoy it.

Ranjit Sinha has been forced to apologise for remarks that he made during a debate about sporting ethics.

He was arguing that laws on sports gambling should be lightened: "I feel that if we can have lotteries ... if we can have casinos in some tourist resorts and if the government can declare schemes of voluntary disclosure of black money, what is the harm if we legalise betting? Above all, do we have the enforcement agencies?"

"It is very easy to say you don't have enforcement agencies. It is like saying if you cannot stop rape, you enjoy it."

He tried to explain his comments immediately but to no avail: "It is better to have something, legalise it, and earn some revenue rather than throwing up your hands and letting things happen," he said.

Women's rights groups quickly condemned the nation's chief investigator. Politician Brinda Karat told The Hindu: "[It is] sickening that a man, who is in charge of several rape investigations, should use such an analogy. He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women."

Calls for resignation

Rape is a huge social problem in India highlighted by the Delhi gang rape case from December last year. Following the death of the 23-year-old medical student, protests were held over violence against women.

Sinha later apologised for the remarks formally: "I gave my opinion that betting should be legalised and that if the laws cannot be enforced that does not mean that laws should not be made. This is as erroneous as saying that if rape is inevitable one should lie back and enjoy it.

"I regret any hurt caused as the same was inadvertent and unintended. I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and commitment to gender issues."

Speaking to the Hindustan Times, however, he appeared to defend the remarks: "[I] was just making a point, that it is very difficult to enforce a ban on betting, that you can make a law but there are already so many and it is difficult to enforce.

"Lotteries are already legal. So I said betting could be legalised, it can be taxed. To make this point, I just used a proverb. It's a malicious propaganda, it's hitting below the belt, and it's unfair."

Activist Kavita Krishnan told the BBC that Sinha should resign from his position, saying if the head of India's primary investigating agency does not understand the difference between rape and enjoyment "he should step down from his position".