Gurbaksh Chahal — the 33-year-old tech CEO who stepped down in July after violating his probation for a vicious assault on his girlfriend — is back at the helm of his startup, the ad tech company Gravity4, in spite of the fact that he still faces jail time.
TechCrunch reported that Chahal turned over control of the company to his sister Kamal Kaur two months ago, but on Gravity4’s corporate website this week, Kaur’s profile has disappeared and Chahal is once again listed as CEO and described as a “diehard entrepreneur.” The website makes no mention of his legal issues.
In August of 2013, Chahal assaulted his then-girlfriend in his penthouse apartment in San Francisco. The incident was caught on video by surveillance cameras.
Police determined that during the attack, Chahal punched and kicked the woman he was dating 117 times, then tried to smother her with a pillow for 20 seconds. Court papers say that Chahal told the victim “I’m going to kill you” four times as he beat her.
Chahal — who sold his first company for $40 million when he was 18 and his second company for $300 million when he was 22 — struck a plea deal with the court, pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault charges. He was placed on probation for three years.
In July, a California judge found that Chahal violated the terms of his probation when he attacked a different woman in the same apartment as before and threatened to have her deported to her native South Korea if she turned him in.
Chahal pleaded guilty in court, but posted a series of ranting blog posts proclaiming his innocence and calling the charges “bullsh*t.” The 2014 attack — which included more kicking — was just him losing his temper, Chahal said, not committing domestic abuse.
“(T)here is a difference between temper and domestic violence,” he fumed.
He has since deleted the posts.
TechCrunch’s Kate Conger wrote, “Chahal has fought to maintain control over his companies through all his legal battles, which have included lawsuits from employees in addition to the criminal charges. At the time of the initial charges against him, he was the CEO of another company, RadiumOne. However, the board forced him out after his guilty plea and he went on to found Gravity4. It looks like he’s planning to fight for this company, too, although he’s still facing jail time.”