The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has initiated a thorough examination scrutinising 20 businesses associated with state construction undertakings. These pertain to projects which were in the long run acquired by firms belonging to Praween Chanklai, colloquially known as Nok. The scrutiny primarily revolves around the establishment of two segments of Highway 375 – one linking Don Toom to Lam Luk Bua in 2017, and the other knitting Lam Luk Bua with Highway 346 in 2021.
Initial explorations suggest a possible connivance between Nok’s construction firm and a multitude of other ventures. This unusual alliance seems to have led to irregularities within the bidding process for these state projects. Nok’s business dealings came under the spotlight following his connection with a highly-publicized shooting incident involving highway policeman, Major Sivakorn Saibua. Nok’s company, interestingly, has captured numerous state projects including the likes of road, building and bridge developments, and canal dredging assignments, largely within Nakhon Pathom and bordering provinces.
A startling revelation by the DSI discloses that only four of the 33 businesses that acquired bid envelopes for the Don Toom-Lam Luk Bua development actually participated in the bidding process. A similar trend was observed in the second project, where merely three of the 32 firms that invested in bid envelopes ended up being part of the bidding contest.
Police Captain Surawut Rangsai, the leader of the division of collusion in state projects within DSI, announced that they had called upon representatives from the above-mentioned firms to ask them questions, primarily as witnesses to the case. The other businesses associated with the bidding process are expected to interact with the DSI in the coming days.
Upon receiving news about these irregularities, Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul committed to a personal investigation into the suspected anomalies within the projects approved by the Interior Ministry. He laid stress on the fact that a close examination needs to be done for projects that have been approved despite multiple grievances raised against them.
Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas, National Police Chief, communicated that there will be a rigid screening mechanism in place after the disclosure about Praween’s involvement in Nakhon Pathom’s provincial committee engaged in police work observation.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Nakhon Pathom, Surasak Charoensirichote, affirmed Praween’s removal from the committee. He also mentioned that there will now be an investigation into the process that led to his recruitment in the committee, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
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