India’s ‘first’ mountaineering couple, two Pune cops who claimed to have conquered Everest, are scammers, it appears. Nepal has imposed a 10-year mountaineering ban on the two climbers who claimed to be the first Indian couple to have climbed Everest, officials say.
The Nepal government investigation concluded that photographs that show the pair at the top of the world’s highest mountain were faked.
Officials say the ban is intended to deter other climbers from making spurious and dishonest claims.
The Rathods claimed to have reached the peak in May,but other veteran climbers weren’t entirely convinced.T hey argued that photos showing Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod at the summit were obviously doctored.
Indian climber Satyarup Sidhantha holds in his right hand a photograph that shows him on Mount Everest, along with what he says is an altered version of the same used by an Indian couple to make it appear they were on the summit (04 July 2016)Image copyrightAP
The company that assisted the couple insisted in July the pair’s Everest conquest claims were true. Nepal’s tourism department initially certified their ascent but has now rescinded that decision after conducting an investigation.
Tourism department chief Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal told the AFP news agency that an analysis of photos submitted by Mr and Mrs Rathod revealed they had superimposed themselves and their banners on photos taken by another Indian climber who conquered Everest.
“Despite several attempts to get clarifications from them, they did not co-operate with us during the investigation. The two Sherpas that assisted them are also absconding,” Mr Dhakal said. “The ban should serve as a warning for mountaineers to follow ethics.”
Mr and Mrs Rathod – who work as constables in Pune, Maharashtra – in July denied the claims, as did the guides who climbed with them.
But a climber based in Bangalore, Satyarup Sidhantha, later told reporters that the photographs presented by the Rathods as “proof” of their climb actually belonged to him.
Suspicions were further aroused because of the time lag between the day the Rathods claimed to have reached the summit and their news conference announcing their achievement.
It was alleged that the couple could not possibly have reached the summit so soon after they were seen to have arrived at the base camp, and that the photos appeared to show them in two different sets of clothes and boots while on the climb.
Many of those who have succeeded in scaling the 8,848m (29,029ft) mountain have subsequently gone on to have lucrative careers as motivational speakers and authors.
More than 450 people, including more than 250 foreigners, climbed Everest during the recently-concluded spring season. It followed two consecutive years of poor weather – made worse by the Nepal earthquake of 2015 – which resulted in almost all Everest attempts being abandoned.
Shameless! is the general verdict. Without a doubt, the Rathods ‘photoshopped’ success will be a great embarrassment, not only to their Police Department, but to the state of Maharashtra and India in general.