A couple has been banned from mountaineering after faking a Mount Everest climb.
Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod claimed they clipped the top of the world tallest mountain in and even posted photographs of themselves atop Mount Everest on May 23. However, the Indian couples’ photos have turned out to be completely fraudulent, which has resulted in Nepal’s tourism department banning them from climbing Nepalese mountains for the next 10 years, The Guardian reported.
The department announced the ban placed on the Rathods Tuesday, explaining that an investigation determined that the couple never actually reached the 8,850-meter peak of the mountain like they claimed.
“Our investigation shows that the couple faked their summit. We have imposed a 10-year ban against them from climbing any mountain in Nepal," Sudarsha Prasad Dhakal, tourism department chief, said to Agence France-Presse.
The investigation into the Rathods' climb began after other climbers, including Satyarup Siddhatnta, a climber from West Bengal, claimed the couple had used “doctored versions” of pictures taken from his successful climb to the world’s highest peak just two days before.
Before the photo fakery was discovered, the Rathods received a ton of praise for being the first Indian couple to successfully climb the top of Mount Everest. However, the duo have reportedly gone rogue since the images were proclaimed fraudulent.
The couple work as police officers stationed in Pune, India. Pune police commissioner Rashmi Shukla told The Indian Express that the whole country was shocked by the Rathod’s climbing scam and the two 30-year-olds have “disappeared without a trace” since the investigation started.
“This means the probe ordered by Nepal government has confirmed the two had lied about scaling Everest… This is indeed shocking. The couple have tarnished the image not only of police force but of the whole country,” she said.
Although Shulka said that action against the couple will only be “per laid-down norms” whenever they are discovered, she did note that they could be demoted or have their annual increments stopped because of the lies.