50 army officers tied to case, Srivara says

50 army officers tied to case, Srivara says

Pol Lt Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, senior investigator in the current lese majeste scandal, says
Pol Lt Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, senior investigator in the current lese majeste scandal, says "40 to 50" senior military officers are involved, but the armed forces haven't reported any cases yet. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Police believe between 40 and 50 military major generals and colonels could be involved in the current high-profile lese majeste case, Pol Lt Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, acting deputy national police chief in charge of the investigation said Tuesday.

The military officials were mentioned in a police file on the case but officers have yet to obtain solid evidence to seek arrest warrants for any of them, Pol Lt Gen Srivara said.

The armed forces have also not lodged a complaint with police about the suspects, he said.

However, the armed forces may have filed complaints with the Crime Suppression Division and they have not yet reached the relevant authorities, he added.

"As for the part of the investigation into this case under my supervision, I can say that more arrest warrants will be issued for sure. But I can't say who they are for now," he said.

More information regarding the arrest warrants will be released in one or two weeks, he said.

According to an informed source, one of the arrested suspects, Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, a well-known fortune-teller known as Mor Yong, admitted to making false claims involving the monarchy to solicit money from business operators.

The same source said Mr Suriyan named one army major general and one army colonel as members of his criminal network. The fortune teller was one of three people arrested for lese majeste under Section 112 of the Criminal Code. Also taken into custody were his aide, Jirawong Watthanathewasilp, and Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa, a computer crime officer.

National Council for Peace and Order and army spokesman Winthai Suvaree, meanwhile, said the army does not have any clear information linking the army major general and the colonel to the allegations made by Mr Suriyan. 

The two officers were mentioned in media reports but the army has not received any information about them from police investigators, according to Col Winthai. The two suspects could not be reached for comment.

In another development, former national police spokesman Pol Gen Prawut Thavornsiri failed to turn up to work for a second day Tuesday after reporting by telephone that he had returned from his European holiday on Sunday.

National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said on Monday that Pol Gen Prawut had returned from a trip to Europe and notified him by phone about his return but he has failed to turn up for work. Pol Gen Prawut was scheduled to attend yesterday's meeting of police executives.

Pol Gen Prawut was last week removed from his post as police spokesman amid suspicion he was linked to the high-profile lese majeste case.

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