The 30-million-baht lottery ticket dispute involving a teacher and a retired policeman is coming to a close with the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) set to conclude that they belong to the retired police officer.
A CSD source close to the investigation said the team looking into the lottery dispute has identified Pol Lt Jaroon Wimol as the owner. The investigation concluded that Pol Lt Jaroon was the owner and in possession of the winning tickets until they were seized by authorities investigating the rival claims.
The CSD investigators have reviewed large amounts of evidence, including recorded phone calls, and ruled that Preecha Kraikruan, a teacher in Kanchanaburi who claims he purchased and lost the winning tickets, was never in possession of the disputed tickets.
According to the source, the team is reviewing evidence and statements from witnesses to determine who will face charges in connection with the dispute.
Initially, three people are likely to face charges including a policeman attached to the Kanchanaburi Provincial Police. The charges involve filing a bogus complaint with police, causing others to face criminal punishment and abuse of authority.
The legal action to be taken is in line with instructions from Pol Lt Gen Thitirat Nongharnpitak, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, who urged the CSD to focus on the intent to commit wrongdoing, the source said.
According to the source, there are three key witnesses in this case -- Mr Preecha and two lottery vendors, Patcharida Promta and Ratanaporn Supathip.
In her statement, Ms Patcharida said she had the winning tickets based on her photos taken on Oct 30, two days before the lottery draw on Nov 1.
She said sold the lottery tickets to Ms Ratanaporn and other vendors because she had too many in stock. She also alleged that Ms Ratanaporn sold the tickets to Mr Preecha and learned he won the prizes when they talked on phone after the result was known.
However, the investigation found that Ms Patcharida's claim about selling the tickets to Ms Ratanaporn lacked credibility.
Moreover, clips of a phone conversation reviewed by the CSD suggested that Mr Preecha did not win the prizes. In the clips he denied that he won when Ms Ratanaporn called him to congratulate him on winning.
Ms Ratanaporn apparently convinced Mr Preecha that he had won, at which point he told Ms Ratanaporn to find the winning tickets so they could share 15 million baht each.
The vendor searched for the winner and filed a complaint with police to have the prizes put on hold.
Pol Maj Gen Maitree Chimcherd, commander of the CSD, said Tuesday the phone recordings still need to be verified to ensure they are admissible in court.
"We have to be sure they are not doctored. Forensics are working on it but I can't say when the examination and verification process will be completed," Pol Maj Gen Maitree said.
He said there are two new witnesses who will be called for questioning but declined to give details about them out of concern it would affect the investigation.
The dispute has gripped the public for months.
Mr Preecha filed a complaint with local police against Pol Lt Jaroon for embezzlement in December. The award of the cash prize was then on hold pending a conclusion of the dispute.
Local police said they believed the tickets belonged to Mr Preecha, but the case was later transferred to the CSD.