Doctors hope to visit abbot next Friday

Doctors hope to visit abbot next Friday

The Medical Council of Thailand (TMC) expects to send a team to check on the health condition of Wat Dhammakaya abbot Phra Dhammajayo next Friday.

TMC president Somsak Lolekha said on Friday that TMC lawyers are drafting a letter asking for the abbot's consent to undergo health checks by the TMC team and acceptance to allow the TMC to disclose his physical condition.

However, the temple has not responded to the proposed Friday appointment, saying that they are waiting for the letter from the council, according to Ong-art Thamnitha, who spoke on behalf of the temple. Mr Ong-art added the letter, once delivered to the temple, will be passed on to the abbot.

The TMC has decided that a team of seven doctors from five medical fields will call on the abbot and examine any ailments he may be suffering from. The doctors are specialists in lung, heart, radiology, haematology, blood vessels and respiratory systems.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI), meanwhile, said it might also have a separate team of doctors check the abbot's health. But the decision will be jointly made with Pathum Thani chief monk Phra Theprattanasuthi, DSI deputy chief Somboon Sarasit as well as the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) chief.

Also on Friday, the DSI, NOB and Phra Theprattanasuthi met for over an hour to discuss a compromise approach for negotiating with Phra Dhammajayo and persuading him to acknowledge the charge.

Phra Dhammajayo, 72, is accused of involvement in money laundering and receiving stolen property worth 1.2 billion baht in connection with the 12-billion-baht Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative embezzlement case. He is allegedly one of the recipients of 878 cheques paid by former cooperative chairman Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, who admitted to siphoning money from the cooperative's accounts in 2013 and was sentenced by the Criminal Court to 16 years in jail.

The monk cited illness as the reason for not turning himself in to DSI officials to acknowledge the charges. DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang dismissed the claim that Mano Laohavanich, once the top-ranking monk at the temple, but who is now Phra Dhammajayo's staunch critic, joined the DSI investigation team to probe the money trail of the monk.

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