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In a petition seeking extra security for Mr. Poonawalla in the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, Datta Mane, a Mumbai lawyer, said the vaccine tycoon had been threatened by chief ministers — India’s equivalent of governors — and business leaders. The company said it had no relationship with Mr. Mane and wasn’t involved with the petition.

The Times of London reported that the threats had become so ominous that Mr. Poonawalla had fled India for Britain, a claim Mr. Poonawalla disputed. Instead, he said he was there on a business trip and to see his children, who started school there last year.

His presence in London has only fueled his critics, who excoriated Serum’s price increases. Sunil Jain, the managing editor of The Financial Express newspaper, tweeted that Mr. Poonawalla’s departure to London was “shameful” and that he should reduce prices.

The Serum Institute is planning a major expansion in Britain, investing nearly $335 million for research and development, to fund clinical trials, to build out its sales office and to possibly construct a manufacturing plant, Mr. Poonawalla’s office said.

“Everyone is depending on us to be able to give this magic silver bullet in an almost infinite capacity,” Mr. Poonawalla said. “There’s this tremendous pressure from state governments, ministers, the public, friends, and they all want the vaccine. And I’m just trying to equitably distribute it as best I can.”