Esports tournaments can be difficult to play in, which is why the ESIC (Esports Integrity Commission) keeps a keen eye on those participating in tournaments in case there is any form of cheating involved.
Their aim is to keep the games as fair as possible and to try and ensure that the reputation of the Esports industry remains high.
One of the most prominent cases of a cheater getting caught out by the ESIC was a member of OpTic Gaming India’s team, namely, Nikhil “Forsaken” Kumawat.
This banning was a massive deal amongst those in the Esports industry and sent shockwaves through the community, and was even considered to be incredibly detrimental to the reputation and perception of Indian Esports players at the time of the incident.
If you hadn’t previously heard about this incredibly severe case of cheating, or you simply wish to know more about the incident, including where Forsaken may be now, then read onwards as we provide you with everything you need to know about this case.
Who Is Nikhil ‘Forsaken’ Kumawat?
Nikhil ‘Forsaken’ Kumawat was a player for OpTic gaming’s India team, but only for a short stint of time, having joined them when they were founded on June 1st, 2018.
Forsaken was a promising CS:GO player and arguably one of India’s most prominent Esports professional players, which is what made the entire incident so devastating.
Prior to him joining OpTic India, there were rumors about the possibility of him cheating (see also ‘Cheating In Esports – What Happens When A Team Or Player Cheats?‘) in tournaments, but these were overlooked and downplayed, especially since there was a sincere lack of evidence.
The incident occurred during the 2018 Zowie eXtemesland tournament that was being hosted in Shanghai.
Throughout the tournament, Forsaken had been making use of an aimbot program which meant that he was able to aim and target opposition players with no effort whatsoever, making killing them an effortless task.
A video of the incident where Forsaken is finally caught and shows a tournament official coming over to check his PC, and was then able to prevent Kumawat from closing the program on his PC whilst he was going over the files on the computer, which then leads to the official discovering the aimbot program.
As a result of this, Forsaken was banned (see also ‘Why Clash Royale Pro Jimit Bhatt Was Banned‘) for 5 years, and OpTic India were disqualified from the competition entirely, who then decided to kick Forsaken off of the team.
This didn’t matter for too long though, as soon enough OpTic India had disbanded, with OpTic Gaming themselves dropping the India team entirely.
As a result of his cheating, the ESIC punished Forsaken with a 5 year ban, with no mention of whether or not the ban would have the opportunity to be shortened at all.
Kumawat was contacted by the ESIC in case he wanted to make an appeal case, however he was unable to be contacted after leaving the event by himself, and deleting all of his social media soon after.
He had previously been banned in the past, namely in 2017, where he was given a Valve Anti-cheat ban, with a 2 year ban period sanctioned. However, this was later reduced to 6 months instead.
When it came to this incident, the ESIC would usually hand out a lifetime ban for a second offence, but considered it to be disproportionate given the minor nature of his first offence, and because it wasn’t directly linked to his second offence.
Kumwat explained in an interview with AFK that he felt he lacked ability when it came to his accuracy in tournaments, which is why he decided to opt for the use of an aimbot program, further stating that there had been absolutely no outside pressure from any of his peers or teammates to cheat in the tournament, and instead it was his own doing.
He also stated that he wasn’t trying to delete the cheat from the PC when he was caught, instead, he was simply just trying to close the window that had it displayed on the screen.
His statement also included how he wished he’d never started playing CS:GO, and that he wishes how he could go back and “Delete that day”.
Due to the new RMR Eligibility Rules published by Valve in April 2021, Forsaken’s ban is due to end in September 2024.
However, as a result of his 2 previous bans, the likelihood is that no team is going to be willing to pick him up now, and it is unlikely that he’ll want to return the Esports community either considering that his reputation as a cheater is one that precedes him.
Effect On The India Esports Community
Kumawat’s ban had a rather negative knock-on effect for the Indian Esports community as a whole, with questions being raised in the community about the reputability of those from the Indian Esports community, as well as affecting the reputation of the tournaments in which he cheated in.
As well as many Indian players in the Esports community saying they felt incredibly betrayed by Kumawat’s actions and were left feeling that their reputation as players was jeopardized as a result of the incident.
In a statement released by Kumawat upon his banning, he stated that “I feel extremely guilty for stealing away the opportunities from my teammates, each one was extremely talented and I have jeopardized their chances of being where they deserve”.
Where Is He Now?
With it being a couple of years since Forsaken was banned, you would think that perhaps he would slowly begin to come active again, perhaps not in the competitive gaming scene again, but at least somewhere.
However, apparently, none of his teammates have heard from him since the day he was caught, choosing to leave the tournament alone, and having no contact with them since.