An Indian court on Thursday (4 January) declared the country's flamboyant tycoon Vijay Mallya a "proclaimed offender" for failing to appear to answer allegations of money laundering by flouting foreign currency laws.

The order - by a New Delhi court - paves the way for the government to take over Mallya's businesses and real estate holdings.

Mallya is currently in London where a court is hearing whether he should be extradited as sought by India.

He was once hailed as India's version of British tycoon Richard Branson for his investments in a brewing and liquor company, an airline, a Formula One team and an Indian Premier League cricket club.

Once one of the wealthiest people in India, he was also a prominent member of parliament before he resigned when he was about to be expelled.

The government says he borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars he knew he would never be able to repay. It seeks the entrepreneur's extradition from the UK to face money-laundering and conspiracy allegations.

Investigators have also accused the 61-year-old of paying $200,000 (£148,000) to a British firm for displaying his company Kingfisher's logo during the Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in the 1990s.

India's Enforcement Directorate claimed that the money was paid without prior approval of the country's federal bank.

Mallya denies any wrongdoing. He is fighting to remain in Britain — which he calls his second home — and will be able to appeal if the judge rules against him.