Cops issue Look Out circular for temple priest

Chennai: Nearly ten days after booking a temple priest on charges of sexual harassment, the Chennai Police have issued a look out circular (LoC) to prevent him from fleeing the country.

The priest, identified as Karthik Munuswamy, remains untraceable following allegations of attempting to push his live-in partner into prostitution and subjecting her to frequent assaults.

The victim, an engineering graduate, had relocated to Chennai in 2021 for employment and was working for a private television channel. With both her parents deceased, she was living alone in the city. During this period, she became acquainted with Karthik, a priest at a temple in Parry’s Corner.

According to the victim’s complaint, Karthik initially extended preferential treatment to her and offered to drop her off at home one day. Upon reaching her residence, he allegedly spiked her drink and raped her. When she confronted him, he reassured her of his affection and promised to marry her, claiming that he was separated from his wife and that their combined fortunes would improve if they stayed together.

The two began living together, but the relationship took a dark turn in February 2023, when Karthik allegedly forced her to undergo an abortion at a private hospital in Vadapalani. The situation further deteriorated when Karthik brought a man to their home, introduced him as a VIP, and left the woman alone with him. The guest reportedly attempted to misbehave with her, prompting her to call Karthik in distress. Although he initially consoled her, he later began to assault her, accusing her of hindering his fortunes by not cooperating with the guest.

The Virugambakkam All Women Police Station (AWPS) registered a case against Karthik based on the woman’s complaint. The charges include Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code (voluntarily causing a woman with a child to miscarry) among others.

With Karthik’s whereabouts still unknown, the issuance of the LoC aims to prevent his escape from India and facilitate his apprehension. The police are continuing their investigation, seeking justice for the victim and holding Karthik accountable for his alleged crimes.