Remember the Indian couple that faked their summit of Everest last year, and were subsequently found out? After receiving a 10-year ban on climbing in Nepal, they returned home to face further investigations and possible disciplinary action as well. A few days back, after more than a year of investigation, the duo were fired from their jobs as police officers as well.
In 2016 Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod made headlines around the world when it was discovered that they had faked a climb up Everest. The husband and wife team used Photoshopped images to try to sell their story, and even had the backing of the trekking group they used to go to Everest Base Camp. But, it didn’t take long for their story to unravel as other climbers recognized the photos as belonging to someone else and Nepali officials couldn’t find a single person who would go on record as witnessing seeing the Rathods on the mountain. That resulted in the decade-long ban for the couple.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Last Saturday, the police department in the Indian city of Prune also dismissed them from the jobs after completing its own investigation. Sahebrao Patil, the police commissioner in the city, when speaking of the situation, is quoted as saying “We found that they had given false information to media, cheated the Indian and Nepali governments and morphed photos to show that they had reached the top of Mount Everest — which, in fact, they had not.”
In India, climbers who summit Everest are given a higher level of notoriety than in many western nations. It is believed that the Rathods had hoped to turn their new-found fame into promotions and raises in pay at their jobs or parlay it into some other money making opportunity. Now, they have earned a level of notoriety of a different kind. One that is likely to follow them around for a very long time.
This incident has also forced Nepal to reevaluate its process for verifying summits, which currently require photos and a report from team leaders. Initially officials there gave the Rathods their summit certificates as well, but much to their embarrassment were forced to later take them back. The Department of Aviation and Tourism, which oversees such actions, is still considering ways to improve the process.
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