POLICE PROBING the high-profile lese majeste case in which suspects have already been arrested plan to question people close to billionaire tycoon Dhanin Chearavanont, the Metropolitan Police commissioner said yesterday.
Pol Maj-General Chayapol Chatchaidej, who is part of the investigation team, said unnamed company employees of Dhanin’s businesses would be questioned.
“The investigators will not directly question Dhanin,” he added. “Only people involved will be questioned.”
Three people have been arrested and accused of citing the monarchy for their own personal gain. They are well-known fortune-teller Suriyan Sujaritpolwong, his secretary Jirawong Wattanathewasilp and late Police Major Prakrom Warunprapa.
They have been charged with violating Article 112 of the Penal Code.
Suriyan and Jirawong were accused of earning Bt1.2 million from a private company identified as Mac Bara, in procuring commemorative pins for the recent Bike for Mum event at an inflated price.
Police have produced a chart that shows five affiliates of Dhanin’s Charoen Pokphand (CP) conglomerate were hired by Mac Bara to produce the pins.
Dozens of investigation teams are currently questioning suspects in the case, according to Chayapol. He said each team would be headed by a senior police officer above the rank of colonel and below the rank of major-general when questioning important figures.
Pol Lt-General Srivara Rangsibhramanakul, the deputy national police chief and head of the investigation team, said the South Bangkok Criminal Court yesterday granted a police request for a warrant to arrest Sukho Tamseri, 32, another person allegedly involved with the case.
Sukho, who is considered to be close to Prakrom, will be charged with possessing firearms and ammunitions without permission.
Initially, Sukho had not been found to commit any offence against Article 112 of the Penal Code, according to Srivara, who added that he would face additional charges if his interrogation reveals that he committed more offences.
Srivara said the investigation of the three original suspects is more than 80 per cent completed. He also said the eight junior police officers transferred to the Central Investigation Bureau who had previously worked under Prakrom, had no links to the case.
No links have been established with any other senior police or military officer, he said.
Meanwhile, police have begun the process of confiscating assets from people close to Suriyan, according to Chayapol. He said those people, many of whom are Suriyan’s relatives, could be charged with receiving stolen goods.
In a related development, a news team from The Nation went to a house inside the Lalil Green Ville in Prawet district yesterday, which was registered as the office of Mac Bara. The people inside the house declined to be interviewed.
According to the Business Development Department, the company was registered in August last year with a registered capital of Bt1 million. Its business involves import and distribution of furniture and electrical devices, as well as the import and sale of premium products, gifts and souvenirs.
In a related development, Samart Telecom denied involvement in Prakrom’s allegedly illegal activities with regard to the setting up of a digital satellite radio station during the Bike for Mom campaign.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, it said the temporary station was established on the Baiyok II building at the request of IT police to facilitate communications during the cycling event held on August 16.
Police had claimed Prakrom, Samart Telecom and others had set up the station without permission.
“Samart Telecom wants to insist that it has neither done anything beyond what it was told nor any illegal activities whatsoever,” the company said.