Court accepts BTS suit against MRTA

Court accepts BTS suit against MRTA

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases on Wednesday accepted a lawsuit filed by BTS Group Holdings against the governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) for "illegally" amending the bidding terms and cancelling bidding for the construction of the western extension of the Orange Line.

BTS Group Holdings is the majority shareholder of Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC), the operator of the BTS Skytrain and the Bangkok BRT.

Adviser to BTS Group Holdings Plc Pol Col Suchart Wonganantchai said seven people were facing the lawsuit, including the the MRTA governor and members of a selection committee that revised the bidding terms of the Bang Khun Non–Min Buri section of the Orange Line and cancelled the bidding.

The court scheduled a hearing on July 7 but there was a possibility of postponement due to Covid-19, Pol Col Suchart said.

In February this year, a lawyer representing BTS Group Holdings filed the petition against the MRTA and other parties for allegedly violating Sections 157 and 165 of the Criminal Code and Section 172 of the constitution's 2018 organic law on corruption suppression and prevention.

Asked if the MRTA would hold a new bidding round for the Orange Line extension, the adviser said it depended on the MRTA but noted the new bidding terms were legitimate.

BTS Group Holdings could not yet say whether it would file another lawsuit to delay the new bidding. The company was still waiting for the new bidding terms, he said.

Head of the company's team of lawyers, Narinphong Chinaphak, said the company had just learnt there were other members of the selection committee who approved the cancellation of the last bidding.

They would be sued for causing damage to the Orange Line project, he said.

"The company's lawyers were assessing the damage to file a civil lawsuit against the MRTA with the Civil Court," Mr Narinphong said.

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