NewsIndiaTimes - page 12

News India Times
August 26, 2016
By Lindsey Bever
here was a time when
Gurbaksh Chahal’s
story was depicted as
a true rags-to-riches
tale - one that started
in the projects in San Jose,
Calif., where a young Indian
immigrant was bullied for
standing out.
He eventually gained recog-
nition, respect and consider-
able wealth, making his first
fortune - and then his second -
as a tech entrepreneur, the per-
sonification of self-made
Silicon Valley success.
As an ascendant multimil-
lionaire mogul, Chahal found
himself at the center of the
“tech bro” culture - wearing
fancy ties and ripped jeans to
work, spending lavishly on lux-
ury sports cars and penthouse
apartments, and talking openly
about his search for the right
He was the star of a story
even Oprah couldn’t resist.
But these days, the story of
Gurbaksh Chahal is told in a
much different way.
Chahal was accused in 2013
of punching and kicking his
then-girlfriend 117 times and
attempting to smother her with
a pillow.
Charged with 47 felony
counts of assault and domestic
violence, he pleaded down to
two misdemeanors and accept-
ed his probation sentence in
anger, saying he had been “cor-
nered” into accepting the plea
Chahal, 34, is now headed
back to court: He is set to be
sentenced Friday in San
Francisco for violating his pro-
bation - after he was accused of
attacking a second girlfriend in
At the heart of his case is a
personal surveillance video that
captured the vicious attack in
his first domestic abuse case.
Police seized it without a war-
rant and the evidence was
deemed inadmissible in court.
Last month, though, San
Francisco Superior Court Judge
Tracie Brown ruled that the
video evidence could be used
after all, to determine whether
Chahal violated the terms of his
probation with a second
episode of domestic violence,
according to the San Francisco
“I think it’s very important
you find that video admissible,
and you should watch it,” San
Francisco Assistant District
Attorney O’Bryan Kenney told
the judge, according to the
newspaper. “In the very room,
in the very bed where he did it
before . . . the pattern here is
Now Chahal could face up to
two years in county jail. His
attorney, James Lassart, did not
respond to requests for com-
‘I used that negative noise as
When Chahal, or “G,” was
young, his family immigrated
from Punjab, India. His sib-
lings, his parents and his
grandmother snuggled into a
one-bedroom apartment in San
Jose, he told OprahWinfrey in
He wore a turban to class, he
said, and was verbally and
physically abused by his peers.
He said he never fit in.
Eventually, though, he didn’t
mind standing out.
“I think as a child, everybody
goes through a phase where
you just want to fit in and you
just kind of want to just be like,
‘OK, how do I just go ahead and
just eliminate the noise and
just kind of go on with my
life?’” he told Oprah. “And the
way I looked at it was, ‘OK, I’m
different and I’m willing to
accept that,’ and, because of
the fact, it really matured me,
in a way, where I used that neg-
ative noise as energy in a way
to go ahead and find out what
my true passion was, what my
strengths were and really figure
life out at an early age.”
At 16, Chahal dropped out of
high school and founded an
Internet advertising start-up
called ClickAgents. He grew it
and then sold it for $40 million.
Several years later, he did it
again with a company called
Blue Lithium, which he sold to
Yahoo for $300 million, accord-
ing to his LinkedIn page.
Suddenly, Chahal was a 25-
year-old business executive
worth hundreds of millions of
He said he bought cars for
his parents and paid their
mortgage. Then he splurged on
But the money never went to
his head, he insisted.
“To me, money was just a
number,” he later told Foundr,
an Australian digital magazine.
Nevertheless, he had earned
it, along with something else:
Recognition. Chahal wrote a
memoir called “The Dream”
and sat on Oprah’s couch. He
met President Barack Obama -
more than once.
And he became a bit of
Silicon Valley celebrity, named
one of “America’s Most Eligible”
But by all appearances,
Chahal remained close to the
people who helped him get
there, posting family photos on
Father’s Day and his parents’
wedding anniversary and writ-
ing a tribute to his grandmoth-
er when she died.
“I can say 100 percent, with-
out a doubt, if she wasn’t my
grandmother - I wouldn’t be
where I am today,” Chahal once
wrote on Facebook. “There isn’t
a day that goes by where I don’t
miss her. She helped me during
the tough times and gave me
that ammunition I needed to
go on for another day.”
‘There were overblown
allegations against me’
His home was 37 floors up,
in a high-rise in the heart of
San Francisco. The wallpaper in
his bedroom was imported
from the Hard Rock Hotel, and
his bed had a golden “G”
adorning the headboard.
It was in that $12 million
penthouse on a Monday in
August 2013 where Chahal
repeatedly struck his girlfriend
in the head, covered her mouth
with his hands and threatened
to kill her, according to court
records. A video camera in his
bedroom captured the scene,
police said.
It became a frustrating case
for the prosecution, which had
evidence it could not use and a
victim who would not talk. It
was said that Chahal had paid
the woman as much as $4 mil-
lion, at least in part, to “be
quiet,” according to a civil law-
suit filed last year by a former
employee who sued Chahal for
wrongful termination.
Continued on page 13
– that’s all you need to know
The Rise And Fall
Of A Silicon Valley
Mogul Accused Of
Domestic Violence
An Oct. 8, 2012, file photo
of Gurbaksh Chahal
meeting President Obama at
Breakfast Dinner in San
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