Himalayan con: Constable couple grilled for four hours

Pune: Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, the constable-mountaineer couple were grilled for nearly four hours yesterday in connection with their alleged false claims of scaling Mount Everest.

Pune city police commissioner Rashmi Shukla had informed on Wednesday that an inquiry panel comprising Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joint Commissioner (Law and Order) and an expert mountaineer would be formed. The cops questioned the couple yesterday evening. An independent panel of mountaineers and the trekking fraternity would later question them.

Secretary of Pimpri Chinchwad Mountaineering Association Surendra Shekle and a member Anjali Kulkarni were also called to record their statements.

“I recorded my statement in front of ACP Ganpatrao Madgulkar, an assistant police inspector and two constables who were typing whatever I was saying. It went on till 2.45 pm, after which I read the three-page statement,” said Kulkarni, adding that she has also submitted the reports done by mid-day.

In the evening, the Rathods were called but only Dinesh turned up, asking for exemption from attending the inquiry citing that his wife is unwell.

“Though Dinesh submitted his wife’s medical report, the police was adamant in recording the statement today (Thursday) itself. Tarakeshwari came an hour later and furnished the report of her climb along with the certificates issued to them,” a senior police officer said, adding, “the couple also claimed that some documents/certificates issued by the Nepal government and the agency through which they had visited the mountain peak, are yet to come.”

After recording the statements, the city police will take two days to read all the documents related to that case.

“We are currently recording statements of the complainants and Rathods. Once this is done, the probe panel will scrutinise the statements and the photographs will be submitted to the Cyber Cell. Some more pictures will be given tomorrow (Friday), which will also be submitted for analysis,” said an officer of the rank of DCP.

Meanwhile, one of the officers conducting the inquiry said that they have to submit the report within 10 days to the commissioner of police.

“We will try to verify the facts through email correspondence with the Nepal embassy. The Rathods are still claiming that they have climbed the highest peak. Ambiguity on the issue will be cleared in two to three days,” said the officer.

The constable couple is in a soup after eight senior trekkers complained against them, saying that their claims of scaling Mount Everest were false.

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