Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced a four-per cent reduction in value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel on Sunday, reducing fuel prices by ₹2.5 per litre in the State. VAT on petrol will be reduced from 30% to 26% and on diesel from 22% to 18%, Ms. Raje announced at a public meeting organised in Rawatsar in Hanumangarh district as part of her ‘Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra’The revised rates will be effective from midnight. The decision will cost the exchequer ₹2,000 crore and will provide the people a relief of ₹2.5 per litre on petrol and diesel.“We have decided to reduce VAT on diesel and petrol by 4%, which will provide much-needed relief to the people of the state, be it farmers or women or others,” Ms. Raje told reporters in Rawatsar after making the announcement.Petrol and diesel prices set new records on Sunday as they continued their upward march on fall in rupee and surge in global crude oil rates. The opposition Congress has called for a nationwide shutdown on Monday over rising fuel prices and depreciation of the rupee. Targeting the Congress, the chief minister said that the party had failed to play the role of an effective opposition and came out of its shell just before the election. Assembly election in Rajasthan is scheduled for later this year. Reacting on the decision, AICC general secretary and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said that Ms. Raje had to take the decision because of public support the Congress was gaining for Bharat Bandh on Monday. “The chief minister had to reduce VAT on diesel and petrol because of the public support Congress was gaining for Bharat Bandh on Monday. The reduction is not enough and the relief should also be provided on gas cylinder without any further delay,” Mr. Gehlot said in a statement. He said that the former Congress government led by him in the State had reduced ₹25 per cylinder and looking at the prices of today, there should be a cut of at least ₹100 on the gas cylinder.
Thirty-four years after riots broke out in the Capital in the aftermath of assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, killing over 2,700 Sikhs, the trial in a number of cases is yet to see its logical conclusion.On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for killing five Sikhs in the Raj Nagar area during the anti-Sikh riots and sentenced him to imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life. However, this is not the only case Mr. Kumar is currently facing in connection with the 1984 riots. Recently, a witness had told a local court here that she saw him addressing the crowd in the Sultanpuri area that Sikhs had killed “our mother” and instigated the mob to kill them. The next date of the case hearing is December 20.Another Congress leader Jagdish Tytler too is facing trial at a local court here in connection with riots at Gurdwara Pulbangash in North Delhi where three people were killed. Mr. Tytler was thrice given a clean chit by the CBI in the case, but the agency was directed by the court to further investigate the matter after the victims filed a protest petition challenging the agency’s closure report in the case.In February 2015, the Centre constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for re-investigating the serious criminal cases which were filed in Delhi in connection with the 1984 riots and have since been closed. A total of 293 cases were taken up for re-investigation.The three-member SIT is also probing Mr. Kumar’s alleged role in two other cases. One of them is the twin murders of a man and his son in west Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh. In November, a local court awarded death sentence to a man for the murder of two men in south Delhi’s Mahipalpur. This was one of the five cases in which the SIT had filed a charge-sheet.