The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will summon Phra Dhammachayo, the abbot of Dhammakaya Temple, to explain if he received money from a key suspect in the Credit Union Khlong Chan embezzlement case and the confirm if he is, in fact, still a mon
Suwanna Suwannajutha, DSI director-general, said the agency had taken over the Bt16-billion embezzlement case from the police and would merge it with other cases recently filed by victims against Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, accusing him of stealing Bt27 million from them. These cases were filed with the Lat Phrao Police Station
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that the Office of National Buddhism (ONB) was taking action against Phra Dhammachayo, first to determine whether he was defrocked a number of years ago, and then to find out if he had received money from a criminal suspect.
Commands handed down by the late Supreme Patriarch in 1999 caused Phra Dhammachayo to be defrocked because of his involvement in a number of offences, including ownership of the land on which Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani is located. The abbot was once indicted for embezzlement of Bt959 million in assets donated to the temple, but public prosecutors later dropped the case after he promised to return the money to the temple.
PM’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said he had seen one of the Supreme Patriarch’s commands, the Third Order, which defrocked the abbot – a crucial issue that would be decided officially through monastic intervention. He said the ONB, which did not exist in 1999, would discuss this issue today.
As for the government's role in the issue, Suwaphan said: “The government is obliged to promote and protect Buddhism. Whoever that damages Buddhism, we are required to act, in order to restore the people’s faith in Buddhim."
Senator Paiboon Nititawan said that if the indictment against the abbot had not been dropped, there would not have been the Credit Union Khlong Chan embezzlement case, in response to a report that Dhammakaya Temple had agreed to return Bt714 million “donated” to it by the Credit Union.