Pune City Police are in the final stages of taking disciplinary action against constable Dinesh Chandrakant Rathod and his wife, constable Tarkeshwari Bhalerao Rathod, for allegedly making false claims about climbing Mount Everest in May last year. Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla said an inquiry against the couple has confirmed that they did not climb Mount Everest. However, at a press conference on Friday, the couple said they have the requisite proof to show that they have scaled the peak.
Rathod and his wife said they were going to initiate legal action against Shukla and other police officials. “Despite informing the inquiry officers about my health problems during pregnancy, they harassed me, due to which I suffered a miscarriage. I will be approaching the Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women, demanding that an offence be registered against the police officers who harassed us, and the persons in the delegation, who made false complaints and allegations against us,” said Tarkeshwari.
Advocate Ramesh Rathod, the lawyer representing the couple, said, “It is not within the jurisdiction of the Pune City Police to conduct such an inquiry… we would be filing a case of defamation against these police officers. They misused their powers to harass Dinesh and Tarkeshwari.”
Dinesh said, “It is wrong to say the Nepal government has imposed a ban of 10 years on us. We have received no communication from the Nepal government in this regard. We have the certificate given to us by the Nepal government for successfully climbing Mount Everest… The persons who complained that we morphed the photographs, to make false claims of climbing Mount Everest, have not maintained it during the departmental inquiry. So it is clear that the complaint against us was false and done with malicious intent.”
He added, “We wanted to talk about it earlier. But we were not allowed to talk to the media as the inquiry was on. We were threatened that if we approach the media, we would be suspended from service. We cooperated with the inquiry officers and did not speak to the media. But still, we were suspended… this is injustice,” said Dinesh.
Refuting the allegations made by the couple, Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla said, “The couple did not report to duty after returning from the expedition. They are on leave without permission. So, there is no question of police harassing them… we have received a communication from the Nepal government, which states that their certificate for climbing the Mount Everest has been cancelled, and they have been banned for 10 years from undertaking a mountaineering expedition in Nepal,” said Shukla.
Pune City Police had recently served a showcause notice to the couple, asking why they should not be dismissed from service.
A press release, issued by Pune City Police on Friday, stated, “The couple had taken permission from the state’s director general of police in 2015, for taking part in a mountaineering expedition in Nepal. They were also given financial help of Rs 2 lakh from the police welfare fund. But the expedition was cancelled following an earthquake in Nepal, due to which the couple returned and reported to duty on June 17, 2015.”
“They never returned the money given to them. Also, they did not submit details of the expenditure of this money. In 2016, the state government again gave them permission for taking part in an expedition to climb the Mount Everest… they were relieved from duty on April 20, 2016. After returning, they did not submit any report regarding their expedition and remained absent on duty without permission.”
“The news reports about their claims of having climbed the Mount Everest were suspicious. Complaints were received about morphed photographs used by the couple. During preliminary inquiry, the couple were unable to provide any strong proof or documents about climbing the Mount Everest. Also, during inquiry, they gave different and contradictory information.”
“The couple submitted forged documents at the Nepal government’s Department of Tourism, to obtain a certificate of successfully climbing the Mount Everest. It has tarnished the image of the state police and nation,” read the statement.
Police said the couple was suspended from service on November 15, 2016, and a departmental inquiry against them is on.