'Big Joke' shouldn't jump to conclusions: Wissanu
Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn has every right to sue the premier for moving him from the Immigration Bureau to the Office of the Prime Minister, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.
However, he said it would be wrong for him to assume last year's forced transfer was comparable with that of Thawil Pliensri, who was removed as National Security Council (NSC) chief by the former premier, Yingluck Shinawatra.
In 2014, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled Mr Thawil's removal was unlawful. Pol Lt Gen Surachate reportedly filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier this week claiming he had also been transferred illegally.
The former police commander, who goes by the nickname "Big Joke", headed the Immigration Police Bureau until last year, when he was suddenly shunted out of law enforcement to the civilian post of adviser at the Prime Minister's Office.
The reason for his sudden fall from grace was never explained.
Pol Lt Gen Surachate says that although it has been more than a year since he was removed, the government has offered no explanation.
Asked whether Pol Lt Gen Surachate could return to the Royal Thai Police, Mr Wissanu said that was possible if the Prime Minister's Office submitted the matter to the PM for consideration.
Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon declined to speak to the media about Pol Lt Gen Surachate's lawsuit against Gen Prayut. He said it had nothing to do with him and he had not seen Pol Lt Gen Surachate for more than a year.