The notorious Indian CS:GO cheater Nikhil “forsaken” Kumawat is now free to return to competition in CS2, with the ban handed by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in 2018 expiring today, Oct. 24.

Forsaken was caught cheating at the eXTREMESLAND Asia Finals in Shanghai, China on Oct. 19, 2018. The scene of tournament administrators inspecting forsaken’s computer became an instant meme in the CS:GO community, especially because forsaken’s hack was named “word.exe.”

The case brought catastrophic consequences for India’s CS:GO scene as a whole, with OpTic Gaming dropping the Indian roster on the same day forsaken was caught by eXTREMESLAND Asia Finals admins. Later, it was revealed forsaken had also cheated at the ESL India Premiership Fall event earlier that month.

ESIC went on to ban forsaken for five years on Oct. 24, 2018, which kept him away from all ESIC-partnered events and essentially forced the Indian player into retirement. The esports watchdog claimed it would have given forsaken a chance to review the evidence and plead not guilty, but he never responded.

The day before ESIC handed the ban, forsaken released his one and only statement regarding the cheating scandal, apologizing for his actions.

“I am broken inside but I am paying for what I did,” forsaken told AFK Gaming. “I have committed a far greater mistake for the community and I must pay not only for my mistake but also for the people who trusted me. I know my career in Counter-Strike is over.”

Forsaken has vanished from social media ever since he was banned and has never said he’s planning to play CS professionally again.

But now, he’s free to pursue it if he wants as he can play in all ESIC-partnered events again. The list of tournament organizers that cooperate with the esports watchdog includes ESL, BLAST, and WePlay. This doesn’t include the Majors. Forsaken will only be allowed to compete at these prestige events after Oct. 19, 2024, as per Valve’s RMR guidelines.

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