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CS:GO pro caught cheating gets five-year ban

Nikhil ‘forsaken’ Kumawat had faced a lifetime suspension

Bog standard screenshot of guy with a gun in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Valve
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports pro who was caught cheating over this weekend has been handed a five-year ban by the Esports Integrity Coalition.

Nikhil “forsaken” Kumawat was caught using and even trying to delete an aimbot hack during this past weekend’s Extremesland Zowie Asia CS:GO 2018 tournament in Shanghai. The moment was captured on video and posted to Twitter.

But Kumawat’s ban instead pertains to cheating in an earlier tournament, the ESL India Premiership, which OpTic India won. After the news of Kumawat’s cheating spread, ESIC asked ESL India to examine Kumawat’s performance to see if he had cheated in their event as well.

“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,” said a statement from ESIC. “No cheats were found on the other OpTic India players’ SSDs.”

OpTic India in fact dissolved after the Shanghai tournament, apparently to give its players a chance to distance themselves from the scandal.

Kumawat had faced a lifetime ban, as this was his second cheating offense. In 2017, he got a six-month ban for receiving a Valve Anti-Cheat ban in Counter-Strike. But the statement from ESIC said that offense “was only very indirectly related to this offense, and that a lifetime ban would have been disproportionate.”

Though Kumawat has two days to appeal the ban, issued yesterday, ESIC noted that earlier efforts to contact him, discuss the incident and explain himself have gone unanswered. AFK Gaming (via PC Gamer) had a question-and-answer with Kumawat, in which he admits cheating and says none of his teammates were involved in it.

The Esports Integrity Coalition was formed in 2016 to police “all forms of cheating in esports, including, but not limited to, match manipulation and doping.” Kumawat’s ban means that he cannot participate in any event sanctioned by an ESIC member.

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