Nepal bans three Indian nationals from climbing mountains in Nepal for faking Everest ascentTheir high-altitude guide has been fined Rs10,000 for making a false report but the liaison officer, a bureaucrat, is left off with a reprimand.
Nepal has issued a six-year mountaineering ban and revoked the Everest climbing certificates of two Indian citizens who produced fake documents to claim that they had climbed Mt Everest in May 2016.
Two Indian climbers—Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami—were issued Everest climbing certificates by the Department of Tourism in 2016 based on photographs and climbing report submitted by their liaison officer.
“As per the investigation report which concluded that photographs purporting to show the climbers at the top of the world's highest mountain were faked, the government has moved to revoke the climbing certificates and issue the six-year mountaineering ban on them,” Taranath Adhikari, the spokesperson at the Tourism Ministry, told the Post.
The mountaineering ban, however, will be counted from May 20, 2016.
Yadav said in an interview to The New York Times that he has all the proof required to show he reached the top of the mountain. He has filed a police complaint against his guide in Nepal, who he said was misleading people by denying that he had scaled the peak.
The government has also issued a six-year mountaineering ban on the team leader and Assam mountaineer Naba Kumar Phukan, starting from May 2016. Similarly, the government has slapped a fine of Rs50,000 on Seven Summit Treks, the agency handling the Indian expedition.
High-altitude guide Nga Dawa Sherpa Dawa, who was hired to support their climb and who made a false report saying that they have climbed, has been fined Rs10,000.
The liaison officer Pawan Kumar Ghimire, who was supposed to monitor the climbing activities on behalf of the government, however, has been only issued a warning.
Yadav was one of the recipients of the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in India. On August 22, 2020, the 26-year-old was named one of the five recipients of India’s highest award for adventure sports in the ‘land adventure’ category for the year 2019 and President Ram Nath Kovind was slated to hand over the award on August 29 last year.
But after several claims of fake ascent, India’s Ministry of Youth and Sports requested Nepal for an investigation. Four years after the controversial summit claim, the Tourism Ministry had formally opened an investigation in August last year.
An investigation committee produced a report two weeks ago, after six months of investigation, and recommended action against two Indian nationals.
According to Adhikari, the climbing duo had morphed [photoshopped] the photos which show they are standing on the summit of Everest. “During the investigation, the Indian mountaineers were asked to prove their claim again. But they failed to submit the evidence,” Adhikari said.
There has been an increased case of submitting fake documents to claim the Everest climbing certificates.
In 2016, Nepal imposed a 10-year mountaineering ban on two Indian climbers Dinesh Rathore and Tara Keshari Rathore who claimed to be the first Indian couple to have climbed Everest.
In that case, too, photos submitted to the department showing the couple at the summit were found to have been morphed.
According to Adhikari, out of nine fake certificates cases under investigation, Nepal is still probing the other five including those of four Indian and a UAE national.
As per the rules, every climber has to submit a photograph standing atop Everest within five months of the completion of their expedition to the Department of Tourism in order to claim the certificate. They also have to submit a report from their liaison officer, who stays at base camp.
But in many cases, liaison officers are also a part of the plot.
A separate internal report of the department says that in the spring of 2019, out of 37 liaison officers who were deployed on Everest to support climbers, only 22 went to the base camp. But those figures are still exaggerated, according to climbing guides.
The liaison officers, who are the civil servants from various ministries and departments, including the army and police, make handsome earnings [at least Rs200,000] and the payments for their daily allowances and charge for their mountaineering gear and food are supported by the climbers.
But this year, at least 20 government employees deployed as liaison officers to support Everest climbers during the upcoming spring season will be strapped with a GPS device to locate them and to prevent false claims of reaching the base camp and supporting the climbers.