One of the biggest stories to come out of the spring 2016 Everest climbing season was about an Indian couple who faked their climb but said they reached the summit anyway. They used doctored photos of the top of Everest, and applied for a summit certificate, but later their story made headlines across the globe as it was revealed that they were a fraud. Now, it seems the couple is in trouble back home, where they have reportedly been suspended from their jobs as police officers.
According to this story from The Himalayan Times, Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod received the suspension after an investigation was conducted by the Pune police department in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The investigation started after the husband and wife team were outed for their false Everest summit claims. They will now remain on suspension until it can be determined whether or not they should be fired altogether.
While in some countries, a summit of Everest is viewed as a badge of honor and respect, in others it can lead to much more. In some parts of the of the world, climbing the highest peak on the planet can lead to fame, fortunate, promotions at your job and a level of celebrity status. India is one such country where this holds true.
Allegedly, the Rathods often talked about wanting to climb big peaks together, and had been planning an Everest summit for some time. This past spring, they finally went to Nepal, where they had told others they would attempt to summit the mountain. Later, the claimed to have done so, but used false images to back up their claim. An investigation by the Nepali government showed that the duo never stepped foot on the mountain, but instead only trekked to Base Camp.
Following that revelation, the couple’s summit certificates were revoked and the they found themselves in hot water, receiving a 10 year ban from climbing in Nepal. Numerous news outlets from around the globe shared their story, and they were soon disgraced in the mountaineering community and beyond. Now, it seems they could lose their jobs as a result as well. Apparently they have not returned to work since this past May.
While being fired from your job for falsifying summit claims may sound a bit harsh, if the culture of a country is one that highly celebrates an Everest summit, it also seems likely that the punishment is going to be significant as well. It seems likely that these the couple will never work as police officers again, and will have this story follow them around for quite some time. Those are severe consequences, but their actions were pretty outlandish too. Hopefully, others will learn from this.
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