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Indian Couple Faces 10-year Ban for Faking Everest Climb

FILE - Trekkers make their way to Dingboche, a popular Mount Everest base camp, in Pangboche, Nepal, Feb. 19, 2016.

Nepal has imposed a 10-year mountaineering ban on an Indian couple who authorities said faked reaching the summit of Mount Everest.

Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, two police constables from Pune, claimed to have reached the peak in May, but many climbers argued their photos were faked. The couple and their guides deny those arguments.

Nepal's tourism department initially certified their climb, but later moved to investigate the photos. The investigation found that the couple had superimposed themselves onto a photo taken by another Indian climber who scaled Everest.

Officials say the ban is intended to deter other climbers from making dishonest claims.

Mountaineering is a major revenue earner for impoverished Nepal, but an earthquake and avalanche that buried at least 19 people last year shook climbers' confidence in the trails. In 2014, sixteen guides were killed while crossing a difficult part of the mountains.

Both disasters halted climbing on Mount Everest for two years and raised concerns about the stability of mountain trails.