It started as a simple fight to get back the hard-earned money he had invested after retirement, but today, at 92, Mangesh Gopal Dalvi leads a forum of 626 investors who lost their money when Lloyds Finance, a non-finance banking company, went bust.
The outcome — investors have started getting repayments. At least 300 who are part of the Association of Depositors (of Lloyds Finance Ltd.) got their money back; others are getting it.
“Dalvi’s spirit is astounding. He did not back off and did everything he could. He continues his fight by keeping meticulous accounts of the membership, getting them audited and helping whoever comes to his house,” said A.R. Chavan, one of the investors. “It’s true public service.”
It began in 2003, said Dalvi, a retired secretary of the Maharashtra State Farming Corporation. “I invested Rs 52,000 in the company. But the company got into financial crisis,” recalled Dalvi, sitting in his one-room kitchen house along SV Road near Malad. “In desperation I wrote a letter to the editor of a vernacular newspaper requesting help.”
The response was “unbelievable”. The paper published his number and within a week, Dalvi received over 70 calls. “Most were from other investors, some to convey support and some people who had similar complaints.”
The calls did not stop. Soon, Dalvi’s one-room house that he shares with his daughter and granddaughter had become the unofficial headquarters for these desperate investors.
The first meeting was at a temple in Malad, and that’s when the Association was formed. “They asked me to lead the forum, I told them I would if they trusted me,” he said.
Getting everyone’s money back became Dalvi’s personal battle. He wrote to the RBI, Company Law Board, the central and state governments. Another investor approached the court.
It worked. The company’s administration was put in the hands of a high court-appointed panel. Finally, the money was safe.
Since 2004, the committee has started returning money.