Police couple under investigation over claims they ‘faked Everest ascent’

Two police officers who claimed they were the first couple to climb Everest are facing an inquiry from their own force after being accused of lying about their ascent. Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod are being investigated over their claims earlier this month that they reached the 8,850m (29,035ft) summit. Fellow officers from the force in Pune, India, are looking into allegations by other mountaineers, who said they circulated digitally altered photos of the climb. The couple deny any wrongdoing, saying they climbed the peak to become the first officers from the force to do so.

The couple have [climbing] certificates from Nepal government’s tourism and mountaineering department. We will approach the government to find out whether these certificates are genuine

Pune police force official

The Rathods held a press conference on 5 June to announce that their “dreams have been realised” when they reached the summit. But other climbers say there are several gaping holes in their story and allege the couple never made it past the base camp. “Our suspicions were first aroused owing to the time lag between the day the Rathods claimed to have reached the summit [May 23] and their press conference announcing their achievement [June 5],” Pune-based mountaineer Surendra Shelke said. However, the company which helped the couple make the climb insisted it had no doubt the climb was successful and the pictures at the summit were taken by its sherpas.

These are the biggest giveaways. The pictures are clearly morphed. The couple’s Himalayan suit colours and even their boots seem to have been changed at the summit.

Climber Anjali Kulkarni