Despite audio evidence indicating he repeatedly slapped his wife, Abhishek Gattani, the Indian American CEO of Cuberon, managed to strike a plea deal with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, which will allow him to serve only 30 days in jail.
Former Apple executive Neha Rastogi said in a powerful court statement – which she was allowed to read only after the plea deal had been agreed upon, allegedly without her consent – that Gattani had abused her for 10 years, from almost the beginning of their marriage. Moreover, Rastogi alleged, Gattani often struck and punched her in the presence of their toddler daughter.
The Silicon Valley CEO was initially charged with felony assault, but managed to knock his sentence down to “offensive touching,” a misdemeanor, and “felony accessory after the fact.” According to the plea agreement, Gattani was sentenced to six months in jail, but he will only remain incarcerated for 30 days. The balance of his sentence will be served in a weekend-work program, doing manual labor for eight-hour shifts.
Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Steve Fein told The Daily Beast that District Attorney Jeff Rosen sought an agreement that would not place Gattani at risk for deportation back to India. A violent felony is a deportable offense, he said, noting that Rosen generally seeks to avoid such deportations.
In the audio evidence recorded by Rastogi in 2016, Gattani can be heard heatedly arguing with Rastogi over a software bug, and calling her a bitch. In the recording, Gattani can be heard slapping Rastogi at least seven times.
“Abhishek, please don’t hit me more,” cried Rastogi in the recording. “Please don’t do this, please don’t do this. Please don’t do this. Please don’t do this. Please don’t do this,” she said repeatedly, while sobbing.
“You don’t want to get beaten up?” Gattani responded. “Then control yourself.”
Gattani was arrested in 2013, when a postal worker called 911 to report that a woman was being physically assaulted in the street outside the couple’s home in Sunnyvale, Calif. A police officer recorded the statements of several witnesses who said Gattani was “pushing and pulling [Rastogi] along the sidewalk while punching her with a closed fist in the side and back multiple times.”
Gattani denied abusing his wife, in interviews with police. He said he had been holding Rastogi’s hand as they walked down the street.
Gattani was charged with felony assault, which was later reduced to a misdemeanor – at Rastogi’s urging – at a time when she still hoped to keep her family whole, reported The Daily Beast.
In a later incident, a Sunnyvale police officer later questioned Rastogi on why she did not leave her husband. “The victim told me she did not think she could leave,” wrote the officer, as reported by The Daily Beast.
“In the past if she did anything other than take the assault it made her husband angrier, and the assault was worse. She added that he had already assaulted her that evening, and this was the second assault. She clarified the suspect used both hands to hit her on both sides. Initially his left hand held her right ear, but then he switched to striking her with his left hand,” wrote the officer.
In her statement to the court, Rastogi said she was offended by the plea agreement, and said she had not consented to the deal. She alleged that Gattani had struck her while she was nursing their six-day-old daughter, saying she was doing it incorrectly. She also alleged that he had threatened to kill her and their daughter.
Rastogi alleged that she had been flung to the floor by her husband, and kicked in the belly on several occasions.
“Honestly, I feel fooled not just by a convicted criminal, aggressor, wife beater, batterer, that I unfortunately married – the worst mistake of my life but by this court as well. With all due respect to the system... I stand fooled, disgraced and ridiculed as a victim,” Rastogi said in her court statement.
Read the full text of Rastogi's court statement here: http://bit.ly/2olBFpa