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Esports Integrity Coalition issues five-year ban to CS:GO cheater

OpTic disbands in wake of Nikhil 'forsaken' Kumawat's ban for cheating in two competitions

The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has issued a five-year ban to a former member of OpTic India's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team after he cheated in two different tournaments.

Nikhil 'forsaken' Kumawat will be prohibited from participating in "all esports related activity for or with any ESIC member organization" for the duration of his ban. This includes a number of major esports organizations such as the ESL, Dreamhack, the Liga de Videojuegos Profesional, Nodwin Gaming, and a number of others.

Kumawat was caught cheating last week at Extremesland Asia, leading to OpTic India's disqualification. In addition, the team's recent win at the ESL India Premiership was examined in the wake of the discovery, and Kumawat was revealed to have cheated there as well "beyond reasonable doubt."

OpTic India disbanded shortly after the incident at Extremesland, though none of its other players were found to have participated in or known about Kumawat's cheating.

Kumawat has an existing cheating offense on his record from a prior incident in 2017, though the ESIC determined it was "only very indirectly related" to the incidents these past few weeks and determined that the punishment for two offenses, a lifetime ban, was "disproportionate."

"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 professionalises," said the ESIC in a statement.

Kumawat has a 48-hour period in which to appeal, but has thus far not responded to the organization's attempts to contact him.

"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," said ESIC integrity commissioner Ian Smith. "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."

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