Tarit says Jatuporn decision was not his alone

Tarit says Jatuporn decision was not his alone

Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith is defending his agency's credibility after being accused of bowing to political pressure over a decision to drop lese majeste charges against red shirt co-leader and Pheu Thai Party MP Jatuporn Prompan.

Tarit: Decision based on evidence

Mr Tarit said the DSI did not work alone in political cases.

The decision not to pursue the case was made jointly by the DSI and public prosecutors.

He said the recommendation was based on evidence and was submitted to prosecutors who made the final call.

"In this case, the DSI recommended not to indict. It is the prosecution who had the final say," he said.

Several red shirts, including Mr Jatuporn, were accused of offending the monarchy during a rally on April 10 last year to mark the first anniversary of the clashes between soldiers and red shirt protesters in 2010.

The dropping of charges was met with scepticism, with some opposition leaders claiming the DSI was trying to appease those in power.

Former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban threatened to sue Mr Tarit for abuse of authority.

Mr Tarit declined to comment on Mr Suthep's threat, saying he had also worked under the previous administration, when the Democrat Party MP had been his supervisor.

Mr Suthep was deputy prime minister in charge of security agencies, including the DSI, in the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration, which lost power when Yingluck Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai Party emerged victorious in last year's elections.

The DSI chief said criticism was likely no matter what decision was made, because political cases were usually controversial.

Pheu Thai MP Korkaew Pikulthong challenged Mr Suthep to lodge a complaint against Mr Tarit. Mr Suthep intervened in the DSI director-general's work when the Democrats were in power, he said. "I think the two of them had some issues when Mr Suthep was a deputy prime minister. If he proceeds with the lawsuit threat, we'll learn more about it," Mr Korkaew said.

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