The Sensex at one point of time fell below 19,000 level for the first time since November 29, as government announced hike in rail freights, particularly commodities, raising fears of a rise in inflation.
Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty dipped below 5,800 level and closed 93.40 points lower at 5,761.35 led by refinery, auto and capital goods.
Union budget and monthly expiry in the derivatives segment on Thursday were other weakening factors, brokers said.
Besides a weak Asian trend and lower opening in Europe on concern Italy's elections may reignite Europe's debt crisis, further influenced the trading sentiment, they added.
The Railway Ministry today hiked the basic freight charges of grains, pulses and groundnut oil by nearly six per cent, a move that will lead to increase in prices of food items.
Stocks of rail associated companies such as Kalindi Rail Nirman, Hind Rectifiers, Kernex Microsystem, Titagarh Wagons and Taxmaco suffered the most by losing up to nearly 12%.
Refinery stocks led by Reliance Industries, which mostly use rail transport to move their products was another weak spot. Market heavy Reliance Industries dropped 3.51% to Rs823.95, as the oil and gas sector index plunged 3.07% to 8,689.98.
Auto sector index was second worst performer by losing 2.76% to 10,487.67 as Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Manindra and Mahindra dropped as freight hike might cut their revenues.
In 30-BSE index components, 25 stocks declined while five stocks such as Infosys, Bharti Airtel, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consultancy and NTPC bucked the trend by ending higher.