Six months after sacking of Sanjay Deshmukh, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, also chancellor of all state universities, on Friday appointed Dr Suhas Pednekar as the new vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai (MU).
Pednekar, a professor of chemistry and principal of Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, has been appointed for a period of five years, or until he crosses 65 years, whichever is earlier.
The governor handed over the appointment letter to Pednekar at Raj Bhavan on Friday afternoon.
This decision comes more than a week after the final round of interviews were held at Raj Bhavan, with five finalists, as prescribed by the VC selection committee.
Pednekar succeeds Sanjay Deshmukh, who was removed from the post on October 24, 2017. Since then, Devanand Shinde, VC of Shivaji University, Kolhapur, had been holding the additional charge.
After Deshmukh’s dismissal, the governor set up a selection committee, headed by renowned space scientist K Kasturirangan, a former vice-chancellor of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University.
In October 2017, the state government nominated CIDCO vice-chairman and managing director Bhushan Gagrani’s name for the selection committee, and in December, MU’s academic and management councils nominated Dr Shyam Lal Soni, director of National Institute of Technology, Uttarakhand, for the committee.
Of the 64 applications received for the post, the selection committee called 32 candidates for presentations two weeks ago. The interviews and presentations took place in the city on April 13 and 14, following which five candidates were shortlisted for personal interviews with the governor last week.
Deshmukh was removed from the post for gross negligence and for failing to comply with directives issued by the governor. He was held responsible for failing to implement properly the On-Screen Marking (OSM) system, adopted for online assessment of answer papers, which resulted in a five-month delay in declaring exam results last summer and leading to utter chaos.