Indian police fire couple for faking Everest climb

Two Indian police officers who falsely claimed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest last year have been sacked, authorities said Tuesday.

Nepal's government last year imposed a 10-year mountaineering ban on Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, a married couple, after finding they had doctored photos to support their claim.

Now the police force in the western Indian city of Pune where the couple worked has dismissed them after conducting its own investigation.

"We dismissed them from service on Saturday after the completion of an internal departmental inquiry," Pune's additional commissioner of police Sahebrao Patil told AFP by telephone.

"We found that they had given false information to media, cheated the Indian and Nepali governments and morphed photos to show that they had reached the top of Mount Everest - which, in fact, they had not."

Nepal's tourism department initially awarded the Rathods a certificate after they said they had reached the top of the world's highest mountain on May 23, 2016.

They investigated after fellow climbers cast doubt on the claim and said photos purporting to show the couple at the summit were doctored.

The incident prompted a review of the procedure for certifying ascents, which currently demands photos and reports from team leaders and government liaison officers stationed at the base camp.

There has been a steady rise in the number of climbers attempting to scale Everest in the last decade as the cost has fallen.

Nearly 450 mountaineers reached the summit of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak from the Nepal side during the brief spring climbing season this year, according to official figures.

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