The Karnataka Police on Friday said legal scholar Shamnad Basheer may have died inside his car due to suffocation, PTI reported. He was found dead in his car in an open area on the outskirts of the district headquarters of Chikkamagaluru on Thursday.

“He had parked and locked his car from inside and the cause of death is either suffocation or carbon monoxide poisoning because he must have switched on his heater, because after some time it led to short-circuit,” Chikkamagaluru Superintendent of Police Harish Pandey told PTI.

The police, however, added that they are awaiting the autopsy report before determining the cause of death.

Basheer was missing for three-four days, and the police had launched a search after his family members filed a complaint on Thursday.

Basheer was an alumnus of the National Law School of India University in Bengaluru as well as Oxford University. The 43-year-old was the founder of non-governmental organisation Increased Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education, which worked to make legal education available to underprivileged children. A specialist in intellectual property law, Basheer was also a recipient of the Infosys Science Foundation prize.