Over four years after two Haryana mountaineers Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani claimed to possess reached the highest of Everest , Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), cancelled the summit certificate issued to them.
An investigation by the ministry concluded both Yadav and Rani had lied because the evidence, including photographs, didn’t add up. Last year Yadav was recommended for the Tenzing Norgay award, the very best adventure sports honour in India, before his name was withheld by the sports ministry after media reports emerged of the likelihood of the climb being fake.
Both Yadav and Rani, consistent with an order issued by the ministry in Nepal, are given six-year retrospective bans, starting 2016. “The ministry has decided to cancel the summit certificates of the 2 Indian mountaineers Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani. In our investigation, we found that that they had submitted fake documents (including photographs). supported the documents and therefore the conversation with the officials concerned, including sherpas, we reached this conclusion,” Pradip Kumar Koirala, a joint secretary within the MoCTCA and therefore the chairman of the investigating committee, told The Indian Express.
Another joint secretary, Tara Nath Adhikari, said both Yadav and Rani had violated regulations under the Nepal Tourism Act, 1978. The ministry has also imposed a fine of 10,000 Nepalese rupees on Dawa Sherpa, the guide of Yadav and Rani and company which organised the expedition, Seven Summit Peaks, was fined 50,000 rupees, Adhikari confirmed. The liaison officer Pawan Kumar Ghimire has been warned, the joint secretary added.
Yadav and Rani were a part of a 14-member private expedition to Mt Everest, led by Naba Phukon.
The team leader Phukon was also banned for 6 years. Phukon, however, had earlier alleged that the photo of Yadav at the summit was fake and questioned his claim of scaling Everest .
Phukon’s version of events is that when he was returning after scaling the height , he had seen Yadav and Rani at South Col (a ridge). “Their oxygen cylinders weren’t working and their sherpa Dawa Sherpa too wasn’t there. Seeing their condition, I told both of them to return (to base camp). Later, I met Rani at Lhotse Face and she or he was affected by frostbite. I called the sherpas at base camp and that they launched a rescue for her. Yadav had already left for the bottom camp,” Phukon said.
Giving himself a clean chit within the fake climb scandal, Phukon said. “When I need to realize both Yadav and Rani getting the certificates, I raised the difficulty . Whatever happened was between the climbers, trekking company and liaison officer. The trekking company and sherpas attest the climb to the liaison officer.”
Rani was admitted during a hospital in Nepal and therefore the then minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj had tweeted in May 2016: “Seema is stranded in Nepal as she is unable to buy her return and hospital expenses. we’ll assist Seema altogether possible manner. we’ll bear all expenses of her hospitalisation and journey back home.”
Seven Summit Treks, meanwhile, maintained that that they had no role within the fake climb.
“If the climbers do a fake climb, how will the trekking company get to know? Our task is to help in getting the permit, organise the trek and route. the 2 Indian climbers showed us the photographs of their summit and that we wrote that that they had climbed. The Nepal ministry of Tourism decides about the certificates,” Mingma Sherpa, chairman, Seven Summit Treks, Kathmandu, told The Indian Express. Yadav, Rani and their sherpa Dawa Sherpa couldn’t be contacted despite repeated attempts.