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'Sadistic': Cong's Moily slams Centre over fuel price hikes

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily on Monday slammed the Centre over the repeated fuel price hikes in the last few days, saying it is "sadistic" on the Modi government's part to "fleece" people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

His attack came on a day petrol price was hiked by 33 paise per litre and diesel by 58 paise to take retail rates to record high as the oil companies increased prices for the 16th day in a row.

"Despite the COVID-19 pandemic which is creeping day by day and the deflation in the economy, the government is fleecing the people of the country and making them shed tears," Moily said in a statement.

"It is sadistic on the part of the Modi government to increase the prices of petrol and diesel despite the slump in crude prices at the cost of the sufferings of the people of India," the former petroleum minister said.

The fuel prices are now at a four-and-a-half month high in India even as crude oil rates have slumped below the USD 40 a barrel mark, he said.

"In 16 days, petrol price has been hiked by Rs 8.3 per litre and diesel by Rs 9.46, a record increase in rates of the fuel in any fortnight since pricing was deregulated," Moily said.

Petrol price in Delhi was hiked to Rs 79.56 per litre from Rs 79.23 while diesel rates were increased to Rs 78.55 a litre from Rs 78.27, according to a price notification of state oil marketing companies.

Rates have been increased across the country and vary from state to state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or value added tax (VAT).

On reports that US President Donald Trump has taken a decision to order new curbs on H1B visas, Moily said this is "the biggest blow" to the employment prospects of Indians in the United States and the most detrimental and reactionary decision taken by the Trump administration.

He hit out at the Modi government, saying it had failed to deal with the issue.

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