Esports star Nikhil ‘forsaken’ Kumawat has been given a five-year Counter-Strike: GO ban for cheating, leading to the disbandment of his esports team OpTic India.
The ban was issued by the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) after forsaken was caught cheating at the recent eXtremesland Asia tournament. Subsequently, OpTic India’s recent win at the ESL India Premiership was examined, in which forsaken was also found to have cheated. ESIC decreed that forsaken will be barred from participating in: “All esports related activity for or with any ESIC member organization” for the next five years, which includes events run by esports organisations the ESL, Dreamhack and Nodwin Gaming.
In a statement on its website, the ESIC said: “The evidence that emerged indicates beyond reasonable doubt that Kumawat cheated during the ESL India Premiership. Most of the evidence is publicly available and is compelling. The same cheats used at eXtremesland was found on his SSD card from the Premiership and match analysis shows numerous examples of the cheats being used. No cheats were found on the other OpTic India players’ SSDs.”
Despite the other members of OpTic India being exonerated from any suggestion of cheating, or even knowing about forsaken’s cheating, the esports team has been disbanded. Forsaken already had a 2017 cheating ban on his record and, according to the ESIC, he came close to a life ban: “We considered the nature and extent of his cheating as a level four offense under the Code (Art 2.4.4). For a second offense, the maximum sanction is a lifetime ban, but we took the view that this was not proportionate as his first offense in 2017 was only very indirectly related to this offense and that a lifetime ban would have been disproportionate.”
However, the ESIC’s Integrity Commissioner, Ian Smith, said, “It is always desperately sad when something like this happens in esports, but this case is particularly disappointing as we have previously shown compassion and consideration for Kumawat in our prior dealings with him. Additionally, he has caused great damage to Indian CS:GO and esports and devalued an excellent competition. There is no place in esports for cheats like Kumawat and, at a personal level, I hope we never see him back in CS:GO or any other game again.”