Maj Gen Suthi now faces a charge of dereliction of duty.
The finding was announced by Maj Gen Kamol Rienracha, commander of the Counter Corruption Division, at a media conference chaired by national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda and televised live from the Royal Thai Police Office in Bangkok yesterday (Mar 9).
Maj Gen Kamol said Maj Gen Suthi was found to have violated Section 157 of the Criminal Code and been derelict in his duty in handling the investigation into the winning lottery ticket dispute in Kanchanaburi.
Under Maj Gen Suthi’s supervision, changes were made repeatedly to dates, places and witnesses’ answers in an interrogation report, to support Kanchanaburi teacher Preecha Kraikruan’s claim to ownership of the set of five first prize-winning lottery tickets.
Two police interrogators from Kanchanaburi were treated as witnesses in building the case against the provincial police commander, Maj Gen Kamol said. At this stage, only one police officer, Maj Gen Suthi, faced prosecution in the lottery dispute case, he said.
He also said that Lt Gen Thitirat Nonghanpitak, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, agreed with the outcome of the investigation into the police handling of the case.
Lt Gen Thitirat told the news conference the Kanchanaburi police commander had not been dishonest in the beginning. Teacher Preecha came up with witnesses, while retired police officer Jaroon Wimool, who possessed and cashed in the lottery tickets, did not present any witnesses.
Maj Gen Suthi had “started with a belief. Immaturity and inexperience in interrogation then led him to have some testimony changed. This is wrong... He failed to pay heed to the scientific evidence as much as he should have,” Lt Gen Thitirat said.
The Kanchanaburi commander had ended the local case that way so that it would leave the police, go to the prosecutors and be later decided in court, the central investigation chief said.
Lt Gen Thitirat also said that Maj Gen Suthi had called Lt Jaroon to his house for a talk because he was a fellow police officer and he hoped to find a good way out for him, believing strongly as he did that Lt Jaroon was the one in the wrong.
Maj Gen Suthi had realised what really happened in the lottery case since being transferred to work at the Royal Thai Police Office, Lt Gen Thitirat said.
All witnesses on Preecha’s side gave false testimony, Lt Gen Thitirat said.
Maj Gen Surasak Suksawaeng, commander of the Disciplinary Division, said that after Maj Gen Suthi is charged, his supervisor would consider disciplinary action.
The lottery dispute came to light when Preecha, 50, claimed in December that he had purchased the prize-winning tickets and filed a complaint with police against retired Lt Jaroon, who cashed in the tickets. He accused him of fraudulent appropriation, claiming Lt Jaroon picked up the tickets after he dropped them.
As a result, the cash prize from the Nov 1, 2017 draw was frozen pending the conclusion of the probe. Lt Jaroon insisted the tickets belonged to him, and said he had already spent some of the money and refused to hand over any of it.
The case was originally handled by Provincial Police Region 7, which oversees Kanchanaburi and other western provinces.
That investigation concluded Preecha was the real owner of the tickets, based on the testimony of witnesses. The national police chief in February ordered the regional police to transfer the case to the Crime Suppression Division after Lt Jaroon filed his complaint in Bangkok.
Preecha was arrested on Feb 28 for filing false information and framing another person. A Kanchanaburi lottery vendor was also arrested on the same day for giving a statement supporting Preecha’s contention.
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