A multi-millionaire internet entrepreneur has been sacked from the company he founded after police alleged that he was caught on camera striking his girlfriend 117 times during a 30-minute domestic violence assault in his San Francisco penthouse.
But Gurbaksh Chahal, the former head of advertising platform RadiumOne, has launched a vigorous defence of his reputation on his personal blog, claiming he had a "normal argument" with his girlfriend after discovering that she was having “unprotected sex for money with other people”.
The 31-year-old, who was once named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year, claimed he did not injure his girlfriend and that he was the victim of an "overblown drama" because of his high profile and considerable achievements.
"Celebrities in sports, entertainment and business, and high net worth individuals in general are all potential targets. It was only a matter of time when I would fall prey," he claimed in a blog, entitled "Can you Handle the Truth?".
His explanation did nothing to appease the board of directors of RadiumOne, a company that utilises data taken from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and tailors advertisements for consumers. The board voted on April 27 to terminate Chahal's employment, according to a statement released by the company.
As part of a plea deal two weeks ago, Chahal pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanour battery and one count of domestic violence battery relating to an incident involving his girlfriend at his San Francisco apartment in August last year.
Originally, Chahal had faced 45 felony charges for allegedly hitting and kicking his girlfriend of eight months.
Police testified that Chahal had video cameras throughout his home at the Infinity Towers in Rincon Hill, including two in his bedroom where they alleged the attack occurred. Officers seized and removed a DVR video recorder from a closet before obtaining a warrant to search the contents, according to the San Francisco Business Times.
The video footage, they said, showed Chahal repeatedly hitting his girlfriend, kicking her and holding his hands over her mouth and nose, the newspaper reported, while police also alleged in court that Chahal threatened to kill the woman.
But Chahal's legal team argued that the video could not be used as evidence because police violated Chahal’s 4th Amendment rights by conducting an illegal, warrantless search of his home.
The judge agreed, ruling that the video could not be used as evidence because it was illegally taken from his apartment.
The court also heard that his girlfriend had said during a police interview that she went to Las Vegas and had sex with another man, who gave her $2500, the San Francisco Business Times reported. The woman claimed it was “to cover expenses” and was not a payment for sex. She later withdrew her testimony about the alleged assault and refused to cooperate with police.
We had a normal argument. And yes, I lost my temper.
Chahal eventually accepted a plea deal on the two misdemeanour charges, and was sentenced to 25 hours of community service, three years’ probation and a 52-week domestic violence training course.
On his blog, Chahal claimed that he had received death threats due to the "misrepresentations" published about his case online.
"Before I begin, I want to make it abundantly clear that I abhor violence of any kind, most especially against women," he wrote.
But he claimed he lost his temper when he discovered she had slept with another man.
"I make no excuse for losing my temper. When I discovered this fact [about the other man] 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 apologise from the bottom of my heart for that. But I didn’t hit her 117 times, injure her, or cause any trauma as the UCSF medical reports clearly document," he wrote.
"I could have spent another year fighting the charges against me, which I truly wanted to do for my family’s sake. I would have prevailed in this fight because the allegations by police against me were overblown and grossly exaggerated. They made good press, but quite literally, they did not hold up in court.
"I recognise that my temper got the better of me, and I will regret that for the rest of my life. But there is a difference between temper and domestic violence, and the truth of what actually happened is no where close to what the police claimed nor anywhere near what the online chatter and pundits are now making it out to be. I have two sisters, a niece and a mother. I love them all to death, and would never want any harm to ever come their way."
Indian-born Chahal moved to the US with his family when he was four, and he dropped out of school at the age of 16 to found his first online advertising company, ClickAgents. That was followed several years later by another company he founded, BlueLithium. ClickAgents and BlueLithium sold for $40 million and $300 million respectively, before Chahal founded RadiumOne in 2010.
RadiumOne expects to generate more than $100 million in revenue this year, and last month was in the late stages of preparing for an initial public offering.
In 2009, Chahal was profiled by Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the same year also starred in a reality television series in which he was named as one of America's most eligible bachelors.