WASHINGTON: An India-born Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur has been fired as CEO of company he founded by the company’s board following charges of battering his girlfriend, even as he alleged that racial bias has coloured the case.
According to reports in the tech media, the board of RadiumOne, an internet advertising platform founded by Gurbaksh Chahal, has fired him over a case relating to his conviction for battery and domestic violence. Chahal, a Tarn Taran-born school dropout who founded and sold two advertising companies for $340 million before he was 25, reportedly kicked and battered his American girlfriend over a domestic argument concerning her alleged infidelity.
Chahal, 31, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence and battery charges last week, dodging 45 felony counts for the beating that was captured on videotaped. The video was ruled to be inadmissible in court because of the nature of the way in which the police obtained it, and the victim later declined to testify and cooperate with prosecutors.
However, in a controversial ruling, Chahal was sentenced to three years’ probation, 52 weeks in a domestic violence training program, and 25 hours of community service, but was spared jail time.
Since then Chahal has taken to social media to protest his innocence even as pressure mounted on the board of RadiumOne to sack him. In a lengthy rant on his blog on Sunday — under the headline “Can you handle the truth?” — Chahal said he has been the “recipient of death threats and hateful language aimed not just at what I was accused of, but attacking me for my ethnicity, my social class, and even my gender. Many would gladly lynch me based because of my origin-and not the facts of my case.”
“I fully understand the outrage of those who believe I got off ‘lightly’ as asserted by numerous postings on social media sites. But the $500 fine I agreed to pay, the equivalent of a speeding ticket, is simply what those misdemeanors require, and in no way reflects the toll that this ordeal has exacted on me,” he explained.
Virtually calling his girlfriend a prostitute, Chahal alleged that the situation that resulted in his legal case began when he “discovered that my girlfriend was having unprotected sex for money with other people” which he claimed she testified to in her interviews with the cops.
“When I discovered this fact and confronted my girlfriend, we had a normal argument. She called 9-11 after I told her I was going to contact her father regarding her activities. And yes, I lost my temper. I understand, accept full responsibility and sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart for that,” he said, adding that it was all “overblown drama because it generates huge volumes of page views for the media given what I have accomplished in the valley.”
But there is little sympathy for Chahal in the tech media, which sees him as pushy go-getter. His own blog has a hashtag that reads #DreamBigHustleHarder. He has appeared on TV reality shows and was voted a most eligible bachelor on one of them.
A clean-cut Sikh, he has also been involved in philanthropy, including establishing the BeProud Foundation with $1 million of his own money following the Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting.