Temple Official Fined for Hurting Businessman

Temple Official Fined for Hurting Businessman

The Straits Times, Thursday, March 28, 2002

A 70-year-old temple official was involved in a scuffle with a 44-year-old man.

And the commotion at the building was caught on camera by another man.

Yesterday, Krishnan Reghunayagan, a vice-president of Sri Muneeswaran Temple, admitted hurting businessman Kumarasamy Shanmuganathan by grabbing him by the throat and pushing him while they were at the temple at Commonwealth Drive on Sept 17 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to threatening Mr. Shanmuganathan by shouting that he would “break his neck”, a threat made with the intent to alarm the man that morning.

District Judge F.G. Remedios fined him $1,000 for each of the two charges Reghunayagan faced, after taking two others—criminal intimidation and using criminal force—into consideration.

Deputy Republic Prosecutor Edwin San said that Mr. Shanmuganathan, a former internal auditor of the temple, had gone to the place of worship for his morning prayers when he took down the particulars of an Indian worker there called Mani.

Mani told one of the temple priests about it, and the priest told Reghunayagan.

Reghunayagan, who was furious at what Mr. Shanmuganathan had done, confronted the man. During the dispute that followed, he grabbed Mr. Shanmuganathan’s right arm and his neck, and pushed him down.

A driver, Mr. Arumugam Selvakumar, 43, saw the commotion and took photographs of the incident.

Later, while the police were taking down statements from Mr. Shanmuganathan and Mr. Selvakumar, Reghunayagan shouted in Tamil that he would break the victim’s neck.

Lawyer Singa Retnam said in mitigation that the whole incident was pre-planned and that both men had provoked his client and had caused him to lose his temper.

He said Mr. Shanmuganathan had abused and scolded his client, calling him a “bloody fool”, “idiot” and “bastard”. Reghunayagan had done outstanding voluntary work for nearly 35 years, he added.