Nikhil ‘forsaken’ Kumawat – a former member of OpTic India’s CS:GO team – has been banned for five years after being caught cheating last week, it has emerged.
The Esports Integrity Coalition hit Kumawat with the five year ban on “all esports related activity for or with any ESIC member organisation”, after it came to light that he had been cheating during the Extremesland Asia finals.
The ESIC ruled that the evidence against him is “compelling” and “beyond reasonable doubt.” It was also implied that his cheating extended beyond Extremesland, to the ESL India Premiership tournament earlier in the month, which Kumawat’s CS:GO team won.
The ESIC said:
Whilst a substantial amount of the evidence has been available publicly for a few days and there have been many calls for a quick decision and a lifetime ban, we have taken our time to ensure a proper procedure has been followed in accordance with the Code of Conduct to which Kumawat was subject during the Premiership. He was entitled and remains entitled to due process and natural justice. Consequently, we have tried to contact him to offer him a reasonable time to consider the evidence and take the opportunity to plead guilty and accept a proposed sanction or plead not guilty and defend himself before our independent Disciplinary Panel. He has not responded to our attempts to contact him.
Kumawat was in fact facing a potential lifetime ban as a repeat offender, but the ESIC ruled that because his previous offence in 2017 was only “indirectly” related to the new offence, a five year ban would suffice.
We take down Team Slaughter Rage Army 2-0.
We have been crowned as the champions of the @ESL_India Premiership Fall Season LAN!
— OpTic India (@OpTicIndia) October 14, 2018
The ESIC seems aware that this ruling will ruffle some feathers, as they explained:
We are conscious that many in the CS:GO community will disagree with this and we understand their feelings, but do not agree and feel that sanctions in esports ought to reflect what is accepted practice in traditional sports as our industry professionalizes. 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.
Meanwhile, Kumawat has released his own statement to AFK Gaming, apologising for his behaviour and confirming that his CS:GO teammates were unaware of his cheating.
For their part, the ESIC ruled that no further cheaters had been found on OpTic India. Their CS:GO team disbanded not long after Kumawat was caught, regardless.