The former limo driver who was accused of raping an NYU law student, and then of trying to hire a hit man to kill her, plead guilty yesterday after decade-old DNA evidence proved a match with him. Queens resident Rajeev Kumar was sentenced to 15 to 21 years in prison for rape, sodomy and conspiracy.

Kumar admitted that he picked the woman up outside the club S.O.B.s in lower Manhattan in August 2000, then raped her in the back seat. But Kumar wasn't fingered for the crime until last summer, after he torched his limousine in the hopes of collecting insurance money. He had to submit a DNA sample after admitting to the arson, and his genetic profile matched the rape kit from the 2000 incident.

Police sources said that Kumar was in denial about being caught for the rape, and while being held in Rikers, plotted to hire someone to kill the woman, offering $5,000 to someone to "get rid of his problem" (at the time, it was said to be $15,000). "[He] instructed him to inject the witness with drugs and then push the witness out of the window of a building," prosecutor Christopher Conroy said. The problem was, his hit man turned out to be an undercover cop. During the trial, his baby-mama denied that Kumar could have called the hit, because of his lack of funds: "Fifteen grand? He doesn't have 15 dollars...He blew all his money on drink and gambling. It's all lies."