Govt could seize land in Pareena case

Govt could seize land in Pareena case

Deputy Agriculture Minister Thamanat Prompow has vowed to seize land from Palang Pracharath MP Pareena Kraikupt if a claim that 900 rai of her estate is in a "land reform" area proves true.

The PPRP heavyweight and Phayao MP yesterday strengthened his stance against Ms Pareena after he earlier appeared to defend his colleague following her clarification that her family had lived on disputed land, covering 1,706 rai, in Ratchaburi's Chom Bung district since 1946 before it was handed over to the Agricultural Land Reform Office.

The so-called land reform areas are supposed to be given to landless farmers, but authorities have yet to divide and allocate them.

Capt Thamanat did not elaborate whether the 900 rai is part of the land controversy amid an ongoing probe into the legal status of the areas.

But he said there would "no exceptions" for the Ratchaburi MP and she would have to return the areas to the government if they were found to be illegally acquired.

"No matter who they are -- Democrat MPs owning land in the South, Bhumjaithai MPs in Nakhon Ratchasima or those in Chon Buri -- they cannot escape the law," he added.

Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is checking a petition, lodged by Pheu Thai member Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, to look into alleged irregularities in Ms Pareena's land ownership to find whether the issue is under its authority.

The NACC is authorised to look for evidence of corrupt practices and unusual wealth in connection with the assets she declared as an MP.

"But whether or not they were acquired illegally will be investigated by other agencies," NACC secretary-general Warawit Sukboon said yesterday.

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