The Serpent's Ajay Chowdhury—the true story behind Charles Sobhraj's evil accomplice

The Serpent's Ajay Chowdhury is a key character in the BBC series—but what happened to him in real life?

The Serpent's Ajay Chowdhury, played by Amesh Edireweera, alongside Mathilde Warnier, who played Nadine Gires
(Image credit: BBC)

The Serpent's Ajay Chowdhury is played brilliantly by actor Amesh Edireweera in the BBC drama, but the question of what happened to him in real life remains. 

The BBC show depicts the horrific crimes of serial killer Charles Sobhraj, but as the dramatization suggests, he had a lot of help with his sinister plans. 

In The Serpent, Jenna Coleman plays Sobhraj’s partner Marie-Andrée Leclerc (it's worth noting that Jenna Coleman's makeup looks got just as much attention as her chilling performance—if you're a fan of '70s style). Former medical secretary Marie-Andrée, originally from Quebec, is quickly drawn in by Sobhraj’s manipulations and charisma. However, while her role becomes even more important as the series progresses, she’s not the only accomplice that the twisted killer is thought to have recruited. 

In real life, as The Serpent shows, Sobhraj reportedly had help from a man called Ajay Chowdhury. But what became of the Serpent's Ajay—and was he really as sinister as the BBC drama would have us believe?

For those who haven't yet watched to the end of the series, warning: spoilers ahead, and for those who have, here's what really happened to Ajay...

Did The Serpent’s Ajay Chowdhury really exist?

Whilst BBC’s The Serpent presents a fictional dramatization of true events, it seems like they did get it right when they depict Ajay Chowdhury as killer Sobhraj’s right-hand man. 

The pair are understood to have met in Thailand and from then on, Ajay became a devoted follower. The Serpent suggests that Ajay helped Sobhraj carry out his evil plans, assisting with luring tourists in and murdering them.

Entertainment Daily reports that, according to the Nepal police and Interpol, Ajay really did help Sobhraj commit a series of murders, robberies, and passport thefts.

He is also understood to have been suspected of burning the bodies of their victims to avoid them quickly being identified.

The Serpent's Ajay was an accomplice to Charles Sobhraj and Marie-Andrée Leclerc

The Serpent's Ajay was an accomplice to Charles Sobhraj and Marie-Andrée Leclerc

(Image credit: BBC)

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What happened to Ajay Chowdry? 

The truth of what really happened to Ajay Chowdhury is still unclear to this day. In The Serpent, he is depicted as having been abandoned in the middle of nowhere by Charles Sobhraj who decides to take Marie-Andrée to Paris instead of Ajay. 

In real life, Ajay is suspected by some of having died after he was sent on an errand trip to Malaysia for Sobhraj in around 1976. However, this is unconfirmed and it seems that no one truly knows what became of Ajay. Much like Charles Sobraj's first wife, who was thought to be called Juliette.

Sobhraj and Leclerc were both arrested and convicted for multiple murders. Sobhraj remains in prison in Nepal whilst Leclerc passed away in 1984.   

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!