Pune constable couple finally suspended for fake Everest claim

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New Delhi: Two police officers – a husband and wife – have been suspended in India for falsely claiming they scaled Mount Everest in Nepal in May. On May 23, Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod claimed that they had become the first police couple to summit the world’s tallest peak. 

On June 17, eight senior members of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Mountaineering Association — Anjali Kulkarni, Sharad Kulkarni, Surendra Shelke, Anand Bansode, Shrikant Chavan, Rupali Chavan, Manisha Waghmare and Amit Singh — approached Pune city police commissioner Rashmi Shukla, raising a doubt on the authenticity of Rathods’ claim, and after which an internal inquiry was constituted.

Meanwhile Nepal’s government has cancelled the climbing certificates issued to Dinesh Rathod and Tarkeshwari Rathod after it found they had presented a fake photograph of themselves on Everest’s summit.

Fellow climbers said the couple never reached the summit and altered someone else’s photographs to earn their climbing certificates.

A police inquiry in Pune in India’s Maharashtra state found their claim was false,a news agency quoted Deputy Police Commissioner Arvind Chavriya as saying Thursday. He said they will remain suspended until the inquiry determines whether they should be fired.

The couple has stayed away from work since the controversy erupted in May. A total of 456 people scaled Everest during this year’s climbing season, which followed two years of disasters on the mountain.

Last year’s season was scrapped after 19 climbers were killed and 61 injured by an avalanche at the base camp triggered by a massive earthquake. In 2014, an avalanche at the Khumbu Icefall killed 16 Sherpa guides.

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