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Probe into couple’s Everest claim begins

nationpaper Updated: Jul 05, 2016, 07:02 IST

KATHMANDU: Nepalese authorities have started a probe against an Indian couple employed with Maharashtra Police after allegations of fraud surfaced regarding their claims of summiting Mount Everest this year.

The investigation by the tourism department started on Sunday after another Indian climber accused Dinesh Chandrakant Rathod and his wife Tarkeshwari of morphing the photos to claim they had reached the summit of the world’s highest peak.

“An investigation is underway and if the couple’s claim is found to be fake, the certificates issued by the department as having successfully climbed the 8,848-metre peak would be nullified,” Laxman Sharma, chief of the tourism department’s mountaineering division, told HT on Monday.

Last month, the department issued certificates to the couple — who claimed to be the world’s first husband-wife police team to have reached the peak together on May 23 — based on photos submitted by them as proof.

The claim was later challenged by Bangalore-based climber Satyarup Siddhantha, who alleged the couple had doctored photos of his climb to the peak on May 21 to make their claim.

The tourism department is also questioning officials of Makalu Adventure Treks, a Kathmandu-based expedition organiser, responsible for the couple’s Everest bid, and the department’s liaison officer, who had certified that their claim was genuine.

Disregarding the usual practice of confirming claims made by climbers with their Sherpa guides, the liaison officer stationed at Everest Base Camp had verified the couple’s claim as genuine without consulting the two Nepali guides who were with them.

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