British fugitive dies in jail

2010-03-23 11:42

Panaji - One of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who was arrested last year in the Indian resort state of Goa, has died after falling ill, a prison official said on Tuesday.

The superintendent of Sada jail in south Goa, RK Satardekar, said Ajay Kaushal had failed to respond to treatment after he was taken to Goa Medical College on Monday night.

Kaushal, 50, fled Britain before he was due to go on trial in January 2005 in connection with the violent kidnapping and torture of a businessman in northwest England.

He was convicted in his absence and jailed for 15 years. He was being held in Goa pending extradition to Britain to serve the sentence.

Satardekar said a case of death in custody has been registered and an investigation launched.

"I am yet to get the medical statement from the hospital. Only after that, I will be able to ascertain the reasons for his death," he said.

He rejected rumours that Kaushal, a diabetic, had committed suicide.

Kaushal, from Manchester, northwest England, was caught by chance in the Goan capital Panaji in October last year after another Briton, Scott Youdale, 39, was found dead in the nearby village of Colva.

Youdale, who was friends with Kaushal, died of a drugs overdose.

Kaushal was on British police's "most wanted" list for the kidnapping, which saw the victim beaten, tortured and then dumped in the Manchester area.

Ransom demands were made on his friends and family. Cash and jewellery worth £100 000 were handed over before the victim was released.