Thailand's caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai Vanasatidya on Tuesday denied he had instructed the Royal Thai Police to summon local media mogul turned caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's arch critic Sondhi Limthongkul for interrogation on lese majeste charges, saying it is a normal legal proceeding.
He said he did not know details of the police's move to summon Sondhi, one of core members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) which leads anti-Thaksin groups, because it is a duty of the operation officials.
Chidchai said the summoning should neither be seen as harassment, nor linked to a political issue.
"I have been aware of the summoning from the media. PAD should understand it is a matter of the normal legal action taken by police," he said.
Asked whether it is appropriate for police to summon Sondhi for this moment, he said it depends on the justice proceeding.
He reiterated that he would not accelerate the investigation of the case, saying the litigation would proceed normally.
"I affirm that the summoning has nothing to do with politics. In this case, a lot of people have filed charges against Sondhi. So, police need to take an action; otherwise, they will be punished. Don't link the case to the political issue," he said.
Meanwhile, the acting Prime Minister said he was not angry over criticism that he would be a puppet of Thai Rak Thai Party leader Thaksin.
Chidchai appeared in a very good mood before chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting, which was the first one chaired by him after he was assigned to act as caretaker prime minister.
"It's impossible," Chidchai said when reporters told him that he was seen as a puppet of Thaksin. "They may simply tease me. I won't get angry."