Col Pitipat Tawatwichian, deputy chief of the provincial police in charge of the case, said investigators presented evidence to the court showing that Phra Dhammajayo had encroached on Phu Puay, Phu Khithao and Phu Rua forest reserves in Phu Rua district to build a forest monastery called Wat Pa Himmawan, a branch of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
The court approved an arrest warrant for Phra Dhammajayo on Monday (Aug 15).
The caretaker for the property, Sakchai Mongkolkeha, was charged by police with conspiring in the alleged encroachment.
He had reported to police to hear the charges.
The provincial police sought court approval for the arrest of Phra Dhammajayo after deputy police chief Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul led police, soldiers and officials from the National Office of Buddhism in a search of Wat Pa Himmawan on July 14.
They found alleged evidence Phra Dhammajayo had falsely obtained Nor Sor 3 Kor documents for 10 blocks of land totalling 129 rai which are part of Phu Puay, Phu Khithao and Phu Rua forest reserves, violations under the Forestry Act, Land Act and National Forest Reserves Act.
Staff of Wat Phra Dhammakaya told the media later yesterday (Aug 16) that the 129-rai land belonged to the temple, not its abbot, and the Phu Rua district chief wrote to the Loei governor on July 24 this year that the land was not a part of the three mentioned forest reserves.
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