Mystery surrounded the murder of a constable and a home guard whose bodies were traced inside Jagamarla forest of Koundinya wildlife sanctuary near Palamaner, 60 km from here, on Monday morning, leading to public commotion.

Constable Jawarhar Lal Naik, attached to the Palamaner police station, reportedly went towards the forest on Sunday evening based on information that some youth were seen dragging a girl into the forest at the outskirts. In this backdrop, he was found murdered at the forest location, along with the body of home guard Devendra alias Deva. Both were in their mid 20s and working as Bluecolts cops.

When Naik failed to report for duty on Monday morning, his colleagues asked his family members about his whereabouts, who in turn said that he did not come home since Sunday morning. Soon the police got to know that the motorbike of Naik was found in the forest belt, with blood trail on the road towards the jungle.

The police team traced the bodies of Naik and Deva with head injuries and stab wounds. Preliminary investigation revealed that the duo was chased to death by the perpetrators.

Police found empty liquor bottles and cigarette butts in the vicinity of double murder. Number of an auto-rikshaw was found scribbled on the palm of Deva. The police maintained that it was a well-planned crime.

The hand of red-sanders smugglers or locally notorious flesh trade gang is not ruled out. The crime spot is known for acts of revelry, mostly gambling and flesh trade, involving locals and strangers from surrounding villages and along Karnataka border. There are allegations that the police are turning a blind eye to the goings on in exchange for mamools. In recent months, the police stepped up vigil against red sanders smuggling activity around Palamaner. The police also suspect the angle of illicit relationship behind the murders. An auto driver of Palamaner, Mubharak, was taken into custody.

Based on the clues, the Chittoor SP, PHD Ramakrishna, and Palamaner DSP Harinath Reddy formed special teams to nab the culprits.