Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon on Wednesday confirmed that sacked immigration chief Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn has been appointed to a Police Commission sub-committee.
Gen Prawit, also defence minister and chairman of the Police Commission, insisted it was perfectly in order for a civilian to serve on the panel.
The appointment of Pol Lt Gen Surachate to the police sub-committee responsible for laws and regulations was an internal matter of the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO), he said.
A person from outside the police force could be a member of the police panel. The appointment of outsiders was within the authority of the Police Commission, Gen Prawit said. He had just signed his name to the order.
National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda and Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta, deputy national police chief, would release the actual details, he added.
He was responding to questions on the appointment of Pol Lt Gen Surachate to the police subcommittee, which was reported in Thai media on Tuesday.
Pol Lt Gen Surachate was in April abruptly transferred from the police force to the civil service, to serve as a special adviser at the Prime Minister's Office. The transfer was made under a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Section 44 dictate to clear the way for an investigation. The allegations against him are unknown.
Gen Prawit said the Police Commission would meet on Wednesday afternoon.
Asked if the appointment of Pol Lt Gen Surachate to the panel signaled his likely return to a key post in the RTPO, he repeated his earlier assurance that the former immigration chief could not return to the police force as he is now a civil servant.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam earlier said Pol Lt Gen Surachate could be transferred back to the police force by a normal order after the NCPO is dissolved.
Gen Prawit refused to comment when asked about Mr Wissanu’s remark. Reporters should ask Mr Wissanu instead, he said.
On June 15 Gen Prawit signed his name to the order appointing Pol Lt Gen Surachate to the police sub-committee, which is chaired by Pol Gen Weerachai.
Earlier, Pol Gen Chakthip denied reports of the imminent return of Pol Lt Gen Surachate to the police force.
Gen Prawit on Monday also denied speculation that Pol Lt Gen Surachate may return as an assistant to the police force.