The House Committee on Agriculture and Cooperatives says it will question the government and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to find out why DSI director-general Pol Maj Suriya Singhakamol was suddenly transferred.
There has been much speculation as to the motive behind Pol Maj Suriya's transfer, which came a day after he led a search in connection with smuggled pork at the headquarters of CP Axtra Plc, formerly Siam Makro, the operators of Makro cash-and-carry shops, in Suan Luang district on Monday.
Since the transfer has raised many questions, the panel would dig for answers, said Sakdinai Numnu, a Move Forward Party MP for Trat in his capacity as committee chairman.
The committee would also like to learn more from the DSI about its ongoing investigation into the pork smuggling problem, which is blamed for forcing many pig farmers out of business due to low pork prices, said Mr Sakdinai.
A cabinet minister with the initial P is rumoured to be a key suspect in the pork smuggling network. Mr Sakdinai said he hoped the committee could reveal his identity as he believed the DSI now has the evidence it needs.
As the government has yet to give a clear answer as to why the cabinet approved Pol Maj Suriya's transfer to become deputy permanent secretary for justice, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin now owes the public an explanation, said Mr Sakdinai.
He was the person who expressed frustration about the DSI's handling of the pork smuggling problem, he added. "I am confused and wondering if the PM really wants the DSI to take the pork smuggling probe seriously. He should tell the public what the real problem is," Mr Sakdinai said. The Customs Department, Fisheries Department and Livestock Development Department will also be questioned, he said.
The government's creditability has nose-dived following the transfer of the DSI chief, former senator Rosana Tositrakul said on Facebook. It suggested it didn't have the courage to touch suspects in the pork probe, thought to be a politician, financiers and high-level civil servants, she added.
Despite the DSI chief's transfer, the team probing the pork smuggling network would continue with its work, said Pol Maj Natapol Ditsayatham, who heads the investigation team. A plan to search Ek-Chai Distribution System Co, the operator of Lotus's retail stores, on Friday is still on, while Makro was given a month to submit documents to defend itself against claims it was connected with detained pork suppliers, he said. "A large number of civil servants and politicians were involved in the network," he said.
A new group of suspects was found to also be involved in the smuggling of other frozen products such as fish as well as plastic polymers, he said. "This group was involved with importing several thousand containers of such illegal products, making billions of baht from the illegal business."