Nepal slaps 10-year climbing ban on Pune cop couple

Updated: Aug 30, 2016, 17:43 IST | Anusha Subramanian

Months after their con was exposed, Pune couple’s claims of climbing Everest blown to bits; climber whose photos they doctored gets certificate

The Pune-based constable couple, Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, have been banned from climbing in Nepal for the next decade and their Everest certificates have been cancelled.

Satyarup Siddhanta’s original photo, which was morphed by Tarakeshwari Rathod
Satyarup Siddhanta’s original photo, which was morphed by Tarakeshwari Rathod

Based on the final recommendation from the Department of Tourism of Nepal (DoT), the Nepal Government cancelled the Rathods’ Everest summit certificates, which were issued to them on June 10, and has also banned them from climbing in Nepal for 10 years as per the existing Tourism Act and Mountaineering Regulation. The decision was given yesterday evening. In another positive move, the DoT also awarded Bengal climber Satyarup Siddhanta his Everest summit certificate.

Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod
Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod

Siddhanta summited Everest on May 21, but had not received his certificate as the DoT withheld it until the investigation was in progress.

Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal, Director General, Department of Tourism (DoT), Nepal confirmed the news. Speaking to mid-day from Kathmandu, he said, “The Nepal Government has cancelled the certificates of Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod and they have been banned from climbing in Nepal for 10 years.” He confirmed awarding Siddhanta his summit certificate.

The final report
The verdict on the Rathods has come after the investigation panel, led by under-secretary Tika Ram Pandey at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), submitted the final report to the ministry two weeks ago, in which it concluded that the photographs of the Rathod couple submitted to the DoT as evidence of their Everest summit — that concluded on May 23, 2016 — were indeed morphed and that their claim was false.

The photos submitted by the Rathod couple were found doctored after Satyarup Siddhanta, an Indian climber from Bengal and presently residing in Bengaluru, accused the couple of doctoring his photographs atop the Mount Everest on May 21.

“We will send an official letter to Pune police commissioner through expedition organising agency Makalu Adventures to inform the Rathods that their certificates have been cancelled and that we have imposed a ban on them,” said Dhakal.

Sherpas MIA
With regard to the two climbing sherpas — Furba from Sankhuwasabha and Fursemba from Solukhumbu — Dhakal said they were out of Nepal and therefore, they were waiting to inquire again and take a final action against them.

The investigation committee recommended the de-listing of both the sherpas from the official summiteers’ record at DoT and a ban on climbing mountains in Nepal for 10 years. Makalu Adventures have been fined for part taking in this act and supporting the Indian couple in morphing the pictures.

No action against liaison officer
Surprisingly, the DoT has not taken any action against Ganesh Prasad Timsina, the liaison officer at Kakarvitta Tourism Office in Jhapa, who verified the couple’s claim, saying he was at the Everest Base Camp for 13 days to monitor their activities. Timisina is also linked to getting Rathod their fake certificates. It is understood from sources that the probe panel has failed to seek any action against Timsina as there were over 40 government officers who charged up to $3,000 (Rs 2 lakh) each for the expeditions this season, without serving the climbers as prescribed.

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