Legal scholar Shamnad Basheer, 43, who was found dead in his car in the Bababudanagiri hills in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district on Thursday evening, died due to suffocation from a lack of oxygen in the car, a post-mortem conducted on Friday has indicated.
“It seems suffocation due to lack of oxygen and fumes is the cause of death. However, the final opinion will be received after the Forensic Science Laboratory provides its report,” Chikkamagaluru SP, Harish Pandey, said.
Basheer’s body was found inside his car which was parked in a clearing, nearly four days after he was reported missing. A short circuit is suspected to have resulted in fumes engulfing the interior of the car, where Basheer is suspected to have been seated alone. Police is not suspecting any foul play in his death as the car’s doors were locked from inside and the key was in the ignition. The engine and the heater were turned on. However, the exact cause of his death and the sequence of event that led up to it are yet to be determined.
A few burn injuries were found on his body, suggesting a fire had broken out in the car’s electrical system. Whether the fire occurred before the 43-year-old lost consciousness, or after, is yet to be determined, police said.
The post mortem report was also unable to ascertain if carbon monoxide poisoning had occurred on account of exhaust fumes getting channeled into the car. A forensic analysis of the viscera is expected to provide clues, sources said. There was no evidence to suggest that Basheer had committed suicide, police sources said.
The legal scholar, who was the founder of the NGO Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA), often drove to Chikkamagaluru alone.