Chandigarh: To break the nexus between militants and gangsters in the state’s prisons, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Monday approved the setting up of an anti-terror squad (ATS), as part of the intelligence wing.
The government is also mulling an effective law such as the Punjab Control of Organised Criminals Act (PCOCA) to deal with the terror spread by organised criminal gangs, a government spokesman said.
These criminal gangs have been operating in the state for the past 5-7 years with strong political patronage, he said.
“The ATS would have the mandate to act both against terrorist/militant outfits and criminal gangs,” he said.
Besides, the state government has also requested the judiciary to notify trial courts in jails to avoid frequent movement of members of top criminal gang who are being targeted to settle inter-gang feuds and rivalries, he said.
On the police crackdown on terrorists and gangsters launched across the state on the directives of the chief minister, the spokesman said since March 16, when the Amarinder Singh government took over, as many as 16 dreaded gangsters had been arrested, notes in Hindustan times.
Capt Amarinder had issued strict directions to the police and intelligence agencies to come down heavily on all criminal gangs in the state, he said.
These criminal gangs, many of which are patronised by political leadership, have been involved in inter-gang rivalry killings, contract killings, extortion from real estate developers/builders, drug smugglers/traders, bookies/satta- hawala dealers/liquor contractors/singers, land-grabbing, kidnapping for ransom and other serious crimes, including drug/arms smuggling
As of March 15, there were 22 organised criminal gangs operating in Punjab with 240 gang members, of which 137 gangsters were lodged in various jails of the state, the spokesman said.