Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender by a Mumbai court in a money laundering case, has been spotted at a book launch event at London School of Economics this week that was attended by the Indian envoy.
Social media was in a frenzy after it emerged that Indian High Commissioner Navtej Sarna, who was one of the special guests at the event on Thursday evening to mark the launch of Suhel Seth's new book 'Mantras for Success: India's Greatest CEOs Tell You How to Win', was also present at the event when the business tycoon arrived.
Seth claimed that Mallya was not an invited guest at the event, which was open to anyone who wanted to attend.
Seth took to Twitter to clarify: "About @TheVijayMallya at my book launch. It was an open @SAsiaLSE & advertised on Twitter. No specific invitations. Anyone could attend."
"Upon realising that @TheVijayMallya was in the audience as any other person, @NavtejSarna left before the Q&A expressing displeasure."
"The High Commissioner upon seeing Mallya walk in actually at the mid of the event, got up and left. To say he rubbed shoulder or he met Mallya is incorrect," Seth told a news channel.
The event was organised by the 100 Foot Journey Club, set up as a collaboration between the Indian High Commission and LSE last month as a forum to discuss and debate issues of contemporary relevance within the India-UK sphere.
The club had been launched in May with a talk at LSE on 'Rethinking the Global Monetary System' by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.
The Indian High Commission in London is likely to issue a statement in relation to Thursday's book launch.