Nepali authorities here on Tuesday slapped a 10-year ban against an Indian couple who claimed to have climbed the world's tallest peak Mount Everest.
The photographs presented by the couple said to have been clicked at the Mt Everest summit proved to be fake following an investigation carried out by the Nepal Tourism Board. The Indian couple has been barred from any expedition for 10 years in Nepal, reports Kathmandu Post.
Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, who are police officials in Pune, had held a press conference earlier in June, in which they claimed to have reached the Mount Everest summit on May 23.
However, several mountaineers complained against the couple and said that they faked their achievement by circulating digitally altered photos of the climb.
The fraud incident came to light after a climber based in Bangaluru, Satyarup Sidhantha, told reporters that the photographs presented by the Rathods as "proof" of their climb actually belonged to him.
Nepal Tourism Board Director General Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal said the Rathod couple has been slapped with a 10-year ban on pursuing expeditions in Nepal and the certificate presented to the couple for their Everest summit has also been scrapped.
Meanwhile, in an interview earlier with BBC, Mohan Lamsal, the chief of Kathmandu-based Makalu Adventure, which organised the ascent, told the BBC he had "no doubt" the couple had scaled the world's highest peak.
"They were taken to the summit by sherpas who worked for my company for several years and they reached the summit on May 23," Lamsal told BBC.
Lamsal, claiming that "there was some politics going on", had said the Nepali authorities had issued climbing certificates to the couple after "investigating the matter and interviewing the couple" following complaints by some climbers in India.