D Sasikumaran is an Indian aerospace engineer who worked at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), who was charged with espionage and arrested in 1994.
Parents & Siblings
Not much is known about his parents and siblings.
Wife & Children
D Sasikumaran’s wife is a physician. In 1994, she served as an assistant professor at the Medical College Thiruvananthapuram
He was rumoured to have an affair with a Maldivian woman, Mariam Rasheeda, who was suspected to be a spy. Reportedly, Sasikumaran had visited her in her hotel room at least twice. Kerala Police alerted IB about the same on 15 October 1994.
Before his arrest in 1994, Sasikumaran was serving as the Deputy Director of the cryogenic technology division of the ISRO and was in charge of the cryogenic technology transfer from Russia. After the rumours of his ties with a spy woman surfaced in the media, he was transferred to Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad. In 1996, after the dismissal of charges against him, Sasikumaran started working as an engineering consultant in Thiruvananthapuram.
Arrested in a false espionage case in 1994
In November 1994, D. Sasikumaran, his colleague Nambi Narayanan, Sudhir Kumar Sharma (a Bangalore-based businessman), K. Chandrasekhar (the Indian representative of the Russian Space Agency Glavkosmos), and Maldivian women Mariam Rasheeda and Fousiya Hasan, were arrested after being accused of alleged espionage by a team of Kerala police and Intelligence Bureau officials.
Mariam Rasheeda and Fousiya Hasan’s arrest in the 1994 ISRO espionage case
Nambi Narayanan’s arrest in the 1994 ISRO espionage case
The arrest was based on videographed statements by a colleague who alleged that he and Narayanan had received money for transferring drawings and documents of rocket engines to two Maldivian women, Mariam Rasheeda and Fauziyya Hassan, who were suspected to be spies. After the dismissal of charges against them in 1996, Sasikumar and Narayanan were transferred out of Thiruvananthapuram and were given desk jobs.
When intelligence agencies raided Sasikumaran’s house, they found that besides a couple of houses in Thiruvananthapuram, Sasikumaran had 1.5 acres of land in an industrial estate in Tamil Nadu. The CBI estimated his assets to be worth over Rs 55 lakh and detained him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
- In 2022, the biographical drama film ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ based on the lives of Nambi Narayanan and D Sasikumaran was released.
- Sasikumaran was taken into custody by the police after they found the telephone numbers of Sasikumaran’s residence and office in Mariam’s diary. It later turned out that Sasikumaran did know Mariam through their common friend Chandrasekhar. ISRO had a business in connection with the cryogenic project with Chandrasekhar. Apparently, Chandrasekhar and Mariam had made acquaintance at the Thiruvananthapuram airport, after which he had put her on to Sasikumaran for a consultation with his wife who was a doctor.
- Initially, Kerala Police dismissed Sasikumaran’s link with Mariam as “a sex scandal of no consequence.” However, after intelligence agencies arrested Mariam’s accomplice Fauzia Hassan and interrogated both of them that they concluded that Sasikumaran and Mariam might be involved in a major spy network operating in the ISRO.