"Orders to begin the drive were issued on Thursday after our vigilance department produced photographs of encroachment in about a dozen markets in the city. The drive will continue till Diwali," said Dharmendra Kumar, special commissioner of police (law and order).
According to sources, pictures of the encroachments - where explosive devices could be planted for a possible terror bid during Diwali - were taken in Greater Kailash, Rajouri Garden, Krishna Nagar and three to four other markets.
Pictures of their evident "leniency" prompted the suspension of about 12 policemen being suspended over three days.
Traders protestThe effects of the drive, however, were reported from south Delhi's INA market even a day before it was officially launched when shopkeepers were issued orders to limit their businesses within their shutters.
Ramesh Bhutani, who has been doing business in the market for over 40 years, said: "Most of these are shops have a size of 8ftx10ft. How will a shopkeeper survive despite this space crunch if he is not allowed a bit of leeway?"
"Punitive measures against errant personnel will continue," special CP Kumar added.