A Delhi court on Monday fixed May 5 for commencement of recording of statements of former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini posted the matter for May 5 after the accused sought some more time to answer the 1,718 questions running into 824 pages asked by the court.

“The time has come when the accused will talk to me directly. It is a dialogue between the accused and the judge,” he said.

“I have no problem in giving time but I will not give time in between. After it (recording of statements) will start, it will go on. It must go at an appropriate speed,” the judge said, adding, “You (accused) will have to answer the questions in bullet speed.”

As soon as the hearing began, the defence counsel said that they need time to prepare the answers to the questions provided by the court.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for Raja, requested the judge that the matter be fixed for May 5 and they will not seek any more time after that.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared for Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, also told the court that they need time to answer the questions.

The court, however, said that cross-examining a witness and asking questions from the accused under Section 313 of the CrPC were different and lawyers were not going to be involved in the process.

“This is between the accused and the judge. Accused may say something to the judge. These are very simple questions,” it said.

“In four months, I have read the file and you (accused) must have read the file as well. You can give answers,” the judge said and also asked the accused if anyone of them was ready to give answers today.

The accused told the judge that they would give answers after the recording of statement of Raja.

The stage for the trial in the case involving Raja and 16 others, which had started on November 11, 2011, was set after the court had framed charges against the 17, including three telecom firms, named in the first two charge sheets saying there was sufficient prima facie evidence against them.

The proceedings in the case, conducted by the special CBI court set up exclusively to deal with the 2G spectrum case, is also being monitored by the Supreme Court.

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