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SINGAPORE - WHILE he was hosting a friend's birthday party in his Commonwealth Drive flat in August, a guest made a remark that offended him.
Vikneswaran Ruvy, 24, had asked Mr Rathkershahan Ananthan, 51, to perform oral sex on him.
This remark and subsequent events led to Mr Rathkershahan's death after he was beaten up by Vikneswaran and his 22-year-old brother, Dinesh Kumar Ruvy.
The brothers were charged with murder on Aug24. But the charge was reduced to voluntarily causing hurt on Friday.
They were jailed for six months after pleading guilty.
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The court heard that around 12.05am on Aug 18, Mr Rathkershahan, a work coordinator at an engineering company, called a friend, Mr Suresh Gopynadhan, 26, to wish him a happy birthday.
The bachelor, whom a neighbour described as "soft" and with pierced ears, invited Mr Suresh to his flat at Block 62, Commonwealth Drive, to celebrate the occasion.
The younger man asked four of his friends to join him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim How Khang said that Dinesh Kumar, a project manager, called Mr Suresh around 1am to wish him on his birthday.
Mr Suresh invited the two brothers and their brother-in-law, Mr Chandrasegaran Suman, 27, to the party.
They arrived around 2.20am. Later, Vikneswaran made the oral sex remark. The court was not told whether he was serious or joking.
An offended Mr Rathkershahan complained to Mr Suresh that Vikneswaran was making fun of him. Mr Suresh consoled him and the men continued drinking.
After Mr Suresh and Mr Chandrasegaran left around 3am, Vikneswaran asked his host if he would like to date him.
The older man scolded Vikneswaran, who apologised, saying he had made the remark because he was drunk.
Mr Rathkershahan retorted in Tamil that when Vikneswaran is drunk, he would not be able to differentiate between his mother and his wife.
DPP Lim said the words suggested that Vikneswaran is capable of sleeping with his mother when drunk.
Dinesh Kumar flew into a rage and punched Mr Rathkershahan on the left side of his face.
His older brother joined in by punching their host twice on the face. Mr Rathkershahan fell backwards and hit his head on a wooden cabinet.
As he lay on the floor, the court heard, Vikneswaran kicked him twice on his chest.
The other guests stepped in and stopped the brothers from further assaulting the older man.
The siblings left as the others tended to Mr Rathkershahan, who was bleeding profusely from a head wound.
Two guests helped him clean it and others tied a towel around his head to try to stop the bleeding, and it seemed to work.
DPP Lim said that "despite persistent requests from (his guests), the deceased (Mr Rathkershahan) refused to call (for) an ambulance or seek medical attention."
He assured them that he was all right and they left at around 4am.
Around 1.30pm on Aug 19, Mr Rathkershahan's nephew, Mr Satthiyan Abarasan, 34, went to the flat and found his uncle dead in a standing position against the kitchen sink.
The court heard that he was found with his head and hands in the basin and the tap was running.
Bloodstains were found on the floor and walls of the unit. A pillow on a bed was also heavily stained with blood.
A report by forensic pathologist Paul Chui revealed that Mr Rathkershahan had died due to a haemorrhage from the wound on his head.
Dr Chui said the wound is generally not expected to be fatal, but if untreated, it could continue to bleed and lead to "catastrophic results".
He said that Mr Rathkershahan had tried to wash off the blood at the sink with running water, which prevented the blood from clotting.
Mr Rathkershahan continued to lose blood, resulting in loss of consciousness and subsequent death, the court heard.
On Friday, the brothers, dressed in identical purple prison overalls, looked relieved when they heard their sentence.
In the gallery, their family members were beaming, obviously pleased with the outcome.
They later told The New Paper outside the courtroom they were overjoyed that the murder charge had been reduced to a less serious charge.
When TNP asked Vikneswaran's older sister, Madam Srivickneshwari Ruvy, 25, why he had made the "oral sex" remark, the housewife replied: "I don't know. It could be the alcohol talking.
"I hope my brothers will turn over a new leaf and I'm sure they will stop drinking after this incident."
Dinesh Kumar's wife, who declined to be named, said the two men are close to their mother and they were furious when Mr Rathkershahan insulted her.
The 26-year-old woman added: "It is very rude to insult somebody's mother. We can use all kinds of bad words but we draw the line when it comes to mothers."
Vikneswaran's wife, 25, who also declined to be named, said: "We both cried every day after finding out our husbands had been charged with murder. Now we are looking forward to their release."
When TNP visited Mr Rathkershahan's flat on Friday, the front gate was secured with a bicycle chain.
Neighbours said the two-room flat has been vacant since the incident.
Madam Alimah Ibrahim, 60, who lives two doors away, said Mr Rathkershahan would always greet her whenever he walked past.
"From what I noticed, he was lembut (Malay for soft or gentle) and had pierced ears," she added.
"He was friendly and used to ask me for curry leaves whenever he did some cooking. He was a nice guy and did not deserve to die that way."
For voluntarily causing hurt, Vikneswaran and Dinesh Kumar could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.