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Indian American hired 'hit man' to kill rape accuser

An Indian American limo driver jailed on a rape charge here tried to hire a hit man to kill the victim, using a picture of her from an evidence file.

world Updated: Nov 13, 2010 13:26 IST

An Indian American limo driver jailed on a rape charge here tried to hire a hit man to kill the victim using a picture of her from an evidence file, according to a media report

Rajeev Kumar's scheme to silence his accuser was blown open in a sting operation and now he's facing a conspiracy rap, New York Daily News said citing sources.

Kumar, 30, allegedly raped a graduate student in the back seat of his limo after offering to give her a lift home from a Manhattan nightclub, it said.

He wasn't caught until a decade later, when he was arrested in an arson case and his DNA matched the evidence in the long-cold sex assault case.

"He thought he had gotten away with the rape all these years," a law enforcement source was quoted as saying. "Then he was caught and he just couldn't accept it."

Kumar told fellow inmates at Rikers Island, New York City's main jail complex, he would pay for someone to "get rid of his problem," a Correction Department source told the New York daily.

Word of his offer made it to the Manhattan district attorney's office, which worked with the New York Police Department to set up an undercover operation.

A cop posing as a hit man met with Kumar, who said he would pay $15,000 for the rubout, sources said.

He said he didn't know where the rape victim lived but he knew what school she graduated from and had a photo - which alarmed investigators.

Sources said the photo was in an evidence file turned over to defence lawyer Nelson Schmukler.

The victim said she could not identify her assailant and the DNA in her rape kit did not match anything in the criminal database - until July 2009 when a New York fire marshal arrested Kumar in an insurance scam.

He admitted he set fire to his family's 2008 Lincoln Navigator to collect a payout and make good on a $4,000 debt to a friend, court records said.

He pleaded guilty to arson in March and got five years' probation. He also gave a DNA sample to marshals, who matched it to the 2000 rape.

First Published: Nov 13, 2010 13:22 IST