Hair smuggling case: ED seizes Rs. 1.21 cr, freezes Rs. 7.5 cr in 100 bank accounts, files case

The Nampally court took cognizance of the Prosecution Complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate against Lucas Thangmangliana and others for human hair smuggling and money laundering.

Directorate of Enforcement (ED)

HYDERABAD: The Special PMLA Court at Nampally took cognizance of the Prosecution Complaint (PC) filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case of human hair smuggling against Lucas Thangmangliana, M/s Nay La Family Exports Pvt. Ltd., and 16 others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

This action was initiated before the Special PMLA Court, Nampally, on August 21, 2023, and the court took cognizance of the PC on March 1, 2024.

The case was initially registered by the Hyderabad Police under various sections of the IPC, 1860, against M/s Nay La Family Exports Pvt. Ltd. and others. The charges included using benami Import Export Codes (IEC) for exporting human hair, cheating by impersonation, using forged documents, and smuggling human hair to Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and China from Hyderabad airport and through land routes from Mizoram.

Upon further investigation, the ED found that Lucas Thangmangliana, a resident of Mizoram, played a crucial role in smuggling human hair and fertilizers from India to Myanmar through the Mizoram border. He also assisted residents of Myanmar in smuggling betel nuts from Myanmar to India and facilitated cash payments for these commodities through hawala networks.

Lucas Thangmangliana's associates received payments in Kyat (the currency of Myanmar) from the buyers of smuggled human hair and fertilizers. Later, Lucas Thangmangliana received payments in Indian currency from Indian buyers against the smuggled betel nuts from Myanmar to India. He then made payments to betel nut sellers in Myanmar in Kyat, utilizing funds collected from the buyers of human hair and fertilizers. Indian sellers of human hair were paid in Indian currency from the funds received from buyers of betel nuts in India.

During the ED's searches at multiple locations in Mizoram and Hyderabad connected to Lucas Thangmangliana and various shell entities, unaccounted cash amounting to Rs. 1.21 Crore was seized, and over 100 bank accounts with a balance of Rs. 7.85 Crore were frozen. Notably, these accounts were used for depositing substantial amounts of cash by individuals other than the account holders.

It was also revealed that human hair exporters from Hyderabad received cash payments from these frozen accounts and through hawala channels as differential payment for their highly undervalued human hair exports.

The ED's investigation into this intricate network is ongoing, and further developments are anticipated in due course.

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