Former OpTic India player Nikhil “Forsaken” Kumawat has been banned from all esports related activity for the next five years, the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has confirmed.
Forsaken was found to have used cheats while playing for OpTic at the eXTREMESLAND 2018 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament in Shanghai after tournament administrators noticed suspicious gameplay and conducted an investigation of the player’s PC.
It is believed that this occasion was part of a prolonged period of offences. ESIC asked ESL India to look into Forsaken’s behaviour in the ESL India Premiership, which uncovered evidence suggesting that the player had cheated throughout the season. According to ESIC, the evidence against Forsaken is “publicly available and compelling”.
As a result of Forsaken’s behaviour, OpTic were immediately disqualified from eXTREMESLAND 2018. Likewise, while his teammates aren’t believed to have been aware of his behaviour, the organisation decided to part ways with the entire OpTic India roster.
Forsaken now has 48 hours to appeal the ban.
Forsaken banned: Determining the punishment
This is not Forsaken’s first offence. The player was also found to have cheated in 2017, which gave ESIC the right to impose a maximum punishment of a lifetime ban.
Many of those in the CS:GO community called for just that. However, ESIC concluded that, as the first offence wasn’t directly linked to this one, a lifetime ban would have been a “disproportionate” punishment.
However, whether Forsaken will ever compete at the highest level again is debatable, given the damage that his behaviour had done to his image.
Announcing the ban, ESIC Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith said:
“This case is particularly disappointing as we have previously shown compassion and consideration for Kumawat in our prior dealings with him.
“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.”