Nepal banned three Indian climbers this year from mountaineering in the country for six years after they were found to have faked their summit of Mount Everest in 2016.
Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) recently organized a special panel to investigate allegations by third parties that Indian nationals Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami did not summit Mt. Everest as they had previously claimed. The panel found that the duo fabricated their claims of ascending Mount Everest and banned all the climbers –along with their expedition leader and fellow Indian national, Nava Kumar Phukon – from conducting any form of mountaineering in Nepal for six years effective May 20, 2016, the date of their staged summit.
“The investigation has confirmed that both of them [Yadav and Goswami] had obtained certificates by giving false details,” MoCTCA spokesman Taranath Adhikari told the Himalayan Times on February 11.
Adhikari referred to the certificates MoCTCA awards to climbers as verification that they have ascended 29,032 feet to reach the peak of the world’s tallest mountain. To obtain a certificate, climbers must provide the ministry with photographic evidence of their summit; the photo must capture the climbers standing on the summit of Mount Everest and provide a clear view of their faces.
Yadav and Goswami provided such photos to Nepal’s tourism ministry in 2016 and received individual certificates. MoCTCA revoked these documents in recent days after concluding its probe into the incident.
“The [Nepali] government has also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 [$688] on the Seven Summit Treks Pvt Ltd, the agency which organized the expedition for the Indian nationals,” according to the Himalayan Times.
“The ministry [MoCTCA] has also warned Pawan Kumar Ghimire, the liaison officer of the team, not to repeat such mistakes in the future,” the newspaper added, referring to the Nepali tourism ministry liaison who issued certificates to Yadav and Goswami validating their Everest summit.
MoCTCA also fined the team’s climbing supporter, Nga Dawa Sherpa, 10,000 rupees (about $138) for filing “false documents claiming that Yadav had successfully climbed Mt Everest on 20 May 2016,” according to the report.
“It’s a victory for the entire mountaineering fraternity and will demotivate others to do such blunder in future,” Phukon, who works with the Indian state of Assam’s sports ministry, told the Guardian on Thursday.
“From day one I was telling everyone that Yadav’s summit claim was false and he morphed his picture. I was the leader of the expedition and he was part of the team. He never made the summit and even had frostbite. He along with Seema Rani Goswami had to be rescued by the Sherpas,” Phukon alleged.