Neha Rastogi, wife of Silicon Valley CEO Abhishek Gattani who pleaded ‘no contest’ to abusing her for over 10 years last week, said she was ‘appalled’ and ‘disgraced’ by the court’s decision to let him off after serving less than a month in prison. Gattani, CEO of start-up Cuberon, was convicted of felony (accessory) and misdemeanour (offensive touching) by the Clara Superior Court in California last week, and was offered a plea deal that reduced his sentence to 30 days actual incarceration, reported American-based media portal The Daily Beast. As part of the deal, if Gattani successfully complete probation and the other terms of his deal, he could even have felony expunged from his record.
Rastogi has previously worked as a product engineer and manager for Flip Video, Cisco and even Apple. According to Gattani’s LinkedIn profile, the 38-year-old created Polaris — the search engine for the second largest eCommerce retailer in the world. Rastogi claims Gattani made her quit her job last year, and didn’t allow her to work.
Pleading ‘no contest’ carries the same weight as admitting guilt, but ensures that the case cannot further be used against the offender in civil court.
Rastogi, who was told she can read her victim-impact statement only after deal was cut between prosecutors and her huband, delivered a four-page statement urging the court to revise its judgement. The 36-year-old asked the court, “What’s the point of me speaking up now? I get heard to be ignored?” She was addressing a pro-tem judge, as presiding Judge Allison Marston Danner was away on vacation.
“He hit me, multiple times during each incident on my face, arms, head, belly, pulled my hair and abused me and called me a bitch, whore, slut, bastard and much more in my language,” Rastogi told the court, “Abhishek and I have a now 3.5-year-old daughter together who has been exposed to and has been impacted from, his abusive, aggressive behaviour.”
“Please help me understand how is this a charge appropriate to the crimes he has himself admitted to in this very court,” she is quoted as saying by The Daily Beast. “By taking the plea deal he has admitted to hitting me, he has admitted to threatening to kill me, he has admitted that he hit me and mentally tortured me throughout my pregnancy and his abuse resulted in me making multiple trips to the ER even as late as 8 months into my pregnancy,” she added.
Rastogi married Gattani in 2009 after the wedding was fixed between the two families. She said she had met Gattani only a handful of times before their wedding. “I didn’t want to give up the romance of the culture we come from,” She told The Daily Beast. Rastogi was born in India but holds American citizenship. Rastogi was told that prosecutors cut a deal for Gattani that would ‘not affect his immigration status’, reported The Daily Beast.
“I call it terrorism… That’s how I felt, terrorised and controlled held hostage by the fear of pain, humiliation and assault on my being and my daughter’s,” Rastogi said in her statement. “Between the prosecution and defense, I’ve been marginalized and honestly insulted. What I have suffered at Abhishek’s hands has become insignificant in favour of considerations for Abhishek’s job, immigration status,” she added.
“I cannot articulate my despair at this treatment of his crimes. It’s as if we are giving him a slap on his wrist because he got caught,” she told the court, “I believe you have the power to restore some faith in my heart that I wasn’t completely made a fool of, by this criminal and the judicial system.”
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