The suspended abbot of Wat Saket (Golden Mount Temple) was found dead in his monastic quarters early yesterday, and other resident monks told police he had hung himself. Metropolitan Police chief Lt-General Sanit Mahathavorn said Phra Brahmasutee's body had no traces of physical attack and there were no signs of struggle in his quarters.
"His relatives don't suspect any foul play, given that he was under stress recently," the senior police officer said.
Two months ago, Phra Brahmasutee was removed as a Supreme Sangha Council (SSC) member on grounds that the Office of the Auditor-General suspected he might have corruptly managed the Bt67 million (S$2.7 million) allocated to fund the cremation of Somdej Phra Buddhacarya (Kiaw Upaseno) - who led a panel acting on behalf of the Supreme Patriarch.
When Phra Brahmasutee lost his post in the SSC, he was also removed from several other executive ecclesiastical posts before being suspended as abbot of Wat Saket.
Metropolitan Police Division 6 chief Pol Maj-General Songpol Wattanachai said younger monks told police that Phra Brahmasutee hanged himself with his belt, but police have not yet concluded the exact cause of his death. "We have to question more witnesses and gather further evidence," he said.
Police noted that though the monk had suffered from stress, he had never complained about life or hinted at committing suicide to people close to him.
Institute of Forensic Medicine commander Pol Maj-General Pornchai Suteerakune said an autopsy was being conducted to determine if his blood was contaminated, adding that the results would be released today.
Born in 1957 in Ayutthaya province, Phra Brahmasutee was ordained as a novice monk at the age of 12. In 1978, he was ordained as monk in Bangkok's Wat Saket with Somdej Phra Buddhacarya (Kiaw Upaseno) his preceptor. He rose through the ranks and when Somdej Phra Buddhacarya passed away in 2013, he was appointed as Wat Saket abbot.