An Indian couple have been banned from climbing Nepalese mountains for 10 years after authorities determined that their claimed ascent of Mount Everest this year was faked.
Dinesh Rathod and his wife, Tarakeshwari, both police officers, were hailed as the first Indian couple to climb the world’s highest peak on 23 May.
The couple’s claim, initially verified by Nepalese authorities, was based on photographs they supposedly had taken at the peak.
But in June complaints were lodged by several other mountaineers including Satyarup Siddhanta, a climber from West Bengal, who said the couple had used doctored versions of photographs from his successful ascent two days earlier.
On Tuesday Nepalese tourism officials said an investigation had determined the Rathods never reached the 8,850-metre peak.
“Our investigation shows that the couple faked their summit. We have imposed a 10-year ban against them from climbing any mountain in Nepal,” Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal, the tourism department chief, told Agence France-Presse.
The police commissioner in Pune, where the two officers are based, said their fraud was “indeed shocking”. Rashmi Shukla said the couple had “tarnished the image not only of the police force but of the whole country.”
Shukla said the two 30-year-olds had disappeared after being interviewed and were still missing. “The two have disappeared without a trace even as we were conducting the inquiry,” she told the Indian Express.
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Neither of the pair co-operated with the investigation and the two sherpas tasked with accompanying them to the summit have also absconded, according to Nepalese authorities.Two images in this article are the same photographs that were used in the fraud.
Source: The Guardian