Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod have been handed a 10-year ban as also their Everest summit certificates have been rescinded
The Nepal government has banned an Indian couple from climbing Nepalese mountains for 10 years after the duo tried to morph photographs for obtaining their Everest summit certificates, The Himalayan Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.
In June, Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod made headlines as India's first couple to scale Mount Everest.
However, several mountaineers soon began complaining against the couple and said that they never made it to the summit and had instead doctored their photographs.
Nepal’s tourism authorities had initially said that the couple had, in fact, climbed Everest, but started a probe after critics pointed out that the clothes they wore in different photos of the climb did not match.
After a month-long investigation, the Nepali investigators concluded that the photographs submitted to the Department of Tourism by the Maharashtra police couple as evidence of their Everest summit were doctored.
“Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jeeban Bahadur Shahi endorsed the legal action against the Rathods as per a recommendation made by the investigation committee on Monday evening,” Joint Secretary Ghanashyam Upadhyaya, who heads the Tourism Industry Division at the ministry, told the Himalayan Times.
The couple also got their certificates rescinded.
Nepal Department of Tourism Director General Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal said, “The DoT will inform the Embassy of India about the government’s action against the Rathods through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a day or two”, reported the Himalayan Times.
The panel, however, did not explain how and when the photographs were morphed.
Meanwhile, the DoT handed over a summit certificate to Satyarup on Monday after cancelling the certificates that the DoT had provided to the Rathods on June 10.
The Nepalese government has not recommended any action against its officials who recommended and provided the Indian couple the certificates by endorsing the fake claims.
Also, Makalu Adventure Treks, the agency handling the expedition was only warned to be careful in future while applying for summit certificates.
Regarding the action against the climbing Sherpas, Furba from Sankhuwasabha and Fursemba from Solukhumbu, who accompanied the Rathods to Everest region, the DoT would decide later as they were still out of reach, Dhakal said, reported the Himalayan Times.