Gurbaksh Chahal is back as CEO of Gravity4, the adtech startup he founded and was forced to relinquish control of after his probation was revoked in a domestic violence case, according to a post on the company’s website.
Chahal handed the reins of the company to his sister, Kamal Kaur, after a judge found in July that he violated his probation by attacking a woman in his apartment and threatening to report her to immigration authorities when she discussed filing for a restraining order against him.
James Lassart, Chahal’s attorney in the domestic violence case, told TechCrunch that Chahal “stepped down of his own initiative” after his probation was revoked. San Francisco Judge Tracie Brown ordered Chahal to spend one year in jail for the probation violation, but that sentence was stayed pending an appeal from Lassart. In the meantime, Chahal has surrendered his passports to the court.
It’s not clear why Chahal is back as Gravity4’s CEO — or how long he will last.
Kaur was listed as CEO on the company’s team page until last week, when she was removed without explanation. Her profile has now been replaced with Chahal’s, which describes him as a “diehard entrepreneur” and makes no mention of his legal problems. Lassart, Chahal’s attorney, did not respond to requests for comment about the latest CEO swap, but said at the time of Kaur’s appointment that Chahal would be focusing on his appeal.
Chahal’s brush with the law began in 2013, when he attacked a woman in his San Francisco penthouse. Chahal pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault charges and was placed on probation for three years. A second woman accused Chahal of kicking her in the same apartment in September 2014, and Judge Brown determined that there was enough evidence of the attack and immigration-related threats to find that Chahal had violated his probation.
Even though Chahal pleaded guilty to the charges, he still maintained his innocence in a series of since-deleted blog posts, claiming that the charges were “bullshit” and that “there is a difference between temper and domestic violence.”
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.