Mother Gets Jail in Kidnap of Son

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rajvinder Kaur has been living at home in an exclusive Calabasas neighborhood for the last month, cooking meals for the young son whose abduction she arranged and living with the husband she tried to shake down for $200,000.

Kaur has only a few more days to spend with the family that has apparently forgiven her. On Monday, the 42-year-old mother of four will start a four-year state prison term for child endangerment, the sentence imposed on her Friday in Malibu Superior Court for her role in a bungled kidnapping plot that ended with her 5-year-old son turning up unharmed at an Oxnard Costco.

Her sentencing closes a seemingly tangled family drama that ended with the victims pulling for the suspect, who happened to be their wife and mother.

"This guy is 100% behind her," Kaur's attorney, Donald Re, said of Kaur's husband, Teja Singh, who posted her $2-million bail in November. "That's the biggest problem right now--the family's devastated that she's going to be away from them."

In the plea agreement, Kaur and three male accomplices who worked at her husband's Indian restaurant--Balwinder Singh, Tajinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, who are not related to each other--each received four years in state prison for the Aug. 8, 2000, incident. They avoided the more serious charge of kidnapping with the use of a handgun, which could have led to life in prison.

In court Friday, Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Wilson said the plot was "not a true [kidnapping]," but rather "staged proceedings for the purposes of taking money from Kaur's husband."

"It was a friendly kidnapping," Wilson said after sentencing. "They were never going to harm the kid. They took him out and even got him McDonald's. Dumping him at the Costco was kind of cold, though."

Wilson said Kaur's husband did not want her to be prosecuted, and court documents indicate that when she was out on bail but barred from living with her family, her children were traumatized and slept together in her bedroom.

Kaur's exile from her lavish Calabasas home was triggered by her need for about $100,000 in cash to pay off debts in her native India, Wilson said.

Kaur and her husband were beneficiaries of a multimillion-dollar car insurance settlement in the early 1990s and had joint-access accounts worth more than $1 million at the time of the kidnapping, Re said.

But Kaur's husband controlled the purse strings and prohibited her from withdrawing money from the account, Wilson said.

Kaur's apparent solution was the kidnapping plot, which involved her cousin, Tajinder Singh, and the two other restaurant workers.

On the night of Aug. 8, two armed, masked men broke into Kaur's home, tied her and her husband up and took their son, Parmuir. They later called Teja Singh and demanded $200,000.

The intruders made several calls to the house with cell phones, whose numbers were traced by police. Parmuir also recognized one of the men involved and identified him to detectives after being rescued.

Rajvinder Kaur allegedly blurted out after her arrest that she had been "blackmailed" by Tajinder Singh and Balwinder Singh, according to Det. Phillip Martinez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at a November bail hearing.

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