KOCHI: The controversy over a foreigner trespassing into the Ernakulam Siva temple has taken a new turn, with a police team on Wednesday leaving for Goa to trace the Portuguese national and issuing a Look Out Circular against him.

The Kochi city police have launched a formal probe into the episode, five days after the police let off the foreigner, identified as Pedro Miguel Rapose, following interrogation. While verifying CCTV footage later, the temple authorities found that all the 13 CCTV cameras on the temple premises had been mysteriously blacked out during the period when the foreigner was inside and hence, they approached State Police Chief Loknath Behera.

Commenting on the issue, the temple authorities said they had decided to take up the matter on suspicion of the trespasser attempting to crash the camera network. “He entered the premises by scaling over the compound wall at 11.22 p.m. and was caught by 11.48 p.m. Strangely, the cameras recorded no footage during this period but rebooted soon after he left the compound. We suspect some attack on the CCTV network taking place in between,” said P. Rajendra Prasad, president of the temple committee.

As part of the investigation, a police team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police K. Laljy visited the temple and collected evidence. “The police have registered a case for ‘trespass’, and a Look Out Circular has been issued to prevent him from leaving the country. In addition, a police team has been dispatched to Goa, where the suspect is believed to be currently in,” the official said.

During an interrogation earlier, the foreigner had told the police that he had entered the temple premises in search of space to spend a night. “Following this, we arranged a room for him at a city lodge, and next morning, he appeared for a detailed interrogation. He told us that he would be leaving for Goa,” officials added.

Earlier, a verification of the foreigner’s travel documents showed that he had come to India on a tourist visa after visiting Iran. Besides the police, the State intelligence has launched an independent probe into the incident.

The 23-year-old Rapose trespassed into the temple premises on March 16 midnight and was caught by the staff, who handed him over to the Ernakulam Central Police.

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