KATHMANDU – Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, both police constables in the Pune police force, made news after they claimed to have climbed 29,029 ft. to be the first couple to scale Mt. Everest in May this year.

While the tourism department of Nepal issued certificates to the couple based on the photos submitted by them as proof, some mountaineers accuse the couple of faking the climb.

In fact, their claim was challenged by climber Satyarup Siddhantha, who accused the couple of submitting doctored photos of his climb to the peak on May 21 to make their claim.

Ignoring the usual practice of authorizing claims made by climbers after confirming with their guides, the officer stationed at Everest Base Camp had confirmed the couple’s claim as genuine without consulting the two Nepali guides who accompanied them.

“An investigation is underway and if the couple’s claim is found to be fake, the certificates issued by the department as having successfully climbed the 8,848-metre peak would be nullified”, said Laxman Sharma, chief of the tourism department’s mountaineering division

The tourism department is also questioning officials of Makalu Adventure Treks, the expedition organiser from Kathmandu, responsible for the couple’s Everest bid, and the department’s liaison officer, who had certified that their claim was genuine.

Maharashtra Police has begun a separate investigation against the couple after the accusation by Siddhantha

If the allegations are proven, they might be prevented from making any future attempts on peaks in the Nepal Himalayas. The expedition organiser’s license could also be cancelled.

However, the couple vehemently deny the allegations, along with the guides who climbed with them.

Mohan Lamsal, who provided the guides to the couple said that his company had sent a helicopter to fly Mrs. Rathod out from the base camp to Kathmandu for treatment as she had contracted pneumonia during their descent.

– Deiptimaan Chowdhury, Correspondent (Asia: South)