KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal's mountaineering authorities are investigating a climbing claim by an Indian couple who are accused of altering photographs of themselves on the summit of Mount Everest, an official said Monday.
Department of Tourism chief Sudarshan Dhakal said that authorities are reviewing the Everest climb made by Dinesh Rathod and his wife Tarakeshwari in May.
They were issued climber's certificates from the Nepal government after they presented a photograph of themselves on the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit.
The couple, who are both police officers from Pune in Indian state of Maharastra, had also claimed they were the first Indian couple to scale Everest.
Fellow climbers, however, say the couple never reached the summit and used someone else's photographs to earn their climbing certificates.
Another Indian climber, Satyarup Sidhantha from Bangalore, said it was his photograph that the couple altered to make it appear they were on the summit.
If the accusation is found to be true, the couple would lose their certificates and be banned from climbing any mountains in Nepal.
They could not be reached for comment.
During the busy climbing season this year, which follows two years of disasters on the mountain, 456 people scaled Everest.
Last year's season was scrapped after 19 climbers were killed and 61 injured by an avalanche at the base camp triggered by a massive earthquake. In 2014, an avalanche at the Khumbu Icefall killed 16 Sherpa guides.