The police, following a direction of the Election Commission, detained nearly 1,200 anti-social elements here in the early hours of Wednesday. The exercise, in which over 5,000 police personnel participated, was part of the preparations for the Lok Sabha elections.

The detained persons were subsequently released after the police collected their fingerprints and other details.

The detained men were considered to be a threat to the smooth conduct of the elections. Most of those detained were already under police watch.

Meanwhile, police in the districts are expected to take up such an exercise.

As per estimation, there are over 10,000 such persons in the State and the hardened among them may be booked under the Goonda Act.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Pant said that the drive was to ensure peace ahead of the elections.

Those who were picked up and released would remain under police watch till the election process is completed. The police also seized lethal weapons and 30 motor vehicles.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sandeep Patil said that a history-sheeter, who had jumped bail and was dodging the police net for over three years, was caught during the drive. The name of the history-sheeter was given as Prasad of Nandini Layout.

The police also arrested seven others facing serious charges. They have since been remanded in judicial custody.