Chavalit and CNS still slug it out
Even though the relevant parties wanted to downplay the bickering between former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and the Council for National Security (CNS), both sides tried to have the last word yesterday.
"I will not stoop to retaliate against Chavalit and I hope the public will be the judge to compare between my family background and a shyster," CNS assistant secretary General Saprang Kalayanamitr said, referring to his aristocratic roots.
"Let him talk and I will not rebut, because he will soon be dead," an aide quoted Chavalit as saying in a rejoinder to Saprang's remarks.
The war of words erupted on Wednesday when Chavalit attacked the CNS for trying to link him to the New Year's Eve bomb blasts. He criticised Saprang for claiming to be in control of the situation despite the explosions.
Chavalit hinted the bombing was an inside job at the CNS.
Saprang retorted that he had not tried to pin the blame for the explosions on anyone. The investigation was under way and would examine all potential suspects, including ousted politicians, he added.
Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas said no one in the interim government or the CNS had singled out Chavalit as a suspect. "The prime minister and the CNS chairman have only said the explosions were politically motivated," Boonrawd said.
Speculation about Chavalit's involvement originated from news reports and not from the authorities, he said.
Boonrawd said there was also speculation that Chavalit was paid Bt1.5 billion by deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra, but time would tell whether this was fact or rumour.
According to intelligence reports, the bombings were an act of political violence, he said. The reports identified potential bombers capable of staging such attacks as being men in uniform from either the military or the police, Boonrawd said, adding the bombers were linked to political factions.
Authorities ruled out the involvement of southern insurgents and foreign terrorists after reviewing the bombing sites and the modus operandi, he said.
The defence minister said investigators would try to identify the culprits based on evidence. He dismissed the allegation that the CNS had staged the bombings in order to cover up other bad news.
"Foreign press reports said the bombing was an insider job, meaning it was staged by fellow Thais," he said, noting that none of the reports blamed the CNS.
Pongthep Thesprateep, secretary-general to the prime minister, said Chavalit knew best why he came out to attack the CNS.