Former OpTic India Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player Nikhil “forsaken” Kumawat has been banned from Esports Integrity Coalition member events for five years, ESIC general manager Kezra Powell announced today.
Two incidents arose earlier this month where cheating programs were found on tournament computers used by forsaken. After being caught at the eXTREMELAND ZOWIE Asia tournament in Shanghai, ESL India found that forsaken had used a similar program in the ESL India Premiership, where OpTic India took first place. Match analysis also supported the evidence of cheats on forsaken’s computers. No other players were implicated in these allegations. The ESIC did not comment on whether the win at ESL India Premiership has been revoked. ESIC commissioner Ian Smith told Dot Esports that ESL India and ESL Pro League will make statements “tomorrow.” “OpTic’s win has been nullified, so the question is what to do about that,” Smith said.
ESIC determined forsaken’s behavior as a “level four offense,” but said that a lifetime ban from ESIC-member events was not appropriate due to the nature of his first offense in 2017, where he was suspended for six months for selling a Steam account that was later issued a cheating ban.
Members include ESL, DreamHack, UMG, and Intel, which knocks out plenty of major CS:GO tournaments for forsaken during the five-year ban. Forsaken has not responded to ESIC’s request for comment, but has the right to appeal the decision within a 48-hour timeframe.
“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,” Smith said in a statement. “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.”
Forsaken released a statement to gaming site AFK Gaming today. He said he was confident in many of his abilities, but not his ability to aim, which is why he used the cheating program. “If I could go back I would probably delete the day when I first played Counter-Strike,” the player wrote. “Nothing good has happened to me since the day I started playing the game.”
“I am broken inside but I am paying for what I did,” he added. “I have committed a far greater mistake for the community and I must pay not only for my mistake but also for the people who trusted me. I know my career in Counter-Strike is over.” Forsaken also apologized to his teammates and the community.
Following the cheating allegations, OpTic Gaming removed forsaken from the OpTic India team and released the entire roster. The roster was pulled together to support CS:GO in an evolving region, and its disbandment is a blow to the local scene.