For his family he was a policeman's driver.
Pramod Tomar (28), who was shot dead by car thieves in Noida when he was a leading a Delhi Police team on their trail, had become a police informer only three months ago.
Tomar, who is survived by his wife and two sons, was the only earning member of the family.
Once a petty thief, he started providing information to the police when his shop selling mobile phones ran into losses.
“He had told us that he was the driver of a station house officer. There was no fixed time of his return from work,” said Preeti Tomar, his wife. “He would often tell us that he was doing a great job and has lots of connections.”
An unsung hero
Tomar was one of the “unseen faces” who helped police bust several criminal rings with his information.
“There is no fixed remuneration for them. We can pay them from the secret security fund,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity. “We have to be very careful as sometimes the information provided by these people are meant to settle scores with a rival gang.”
Police said most of these informers have either themselves been in jail or have criminals living in their area.
Tomar lived in a rented house in one of the serpentine lanes of Jaitpur in south Delhi, an unauthorised colony.
“He died trying to help the police. We would recommend his name for some reward," said HGS Dhaliwal, deputy commissioner of police (south).
A shade of grey
Police officers admitted they have to "ignore" many wrongdoings of these informers to sustain the flow of information.
Last year, Delhi Police had gunned down Om Prakash alias Bunty, a former police informer, in an encounter in south Delhi.
Bunty, who once provided information about criminals in Sangam Vihar, was involved in over 30 cases of snatching and murder.
Ravi Kapoor, arrested on charges of killing television journalist Soumya Vishwanathan and IT executive Jigeesha Ghosh, was also a former police informer. Sources said police had taken Kapoor’s help to solve Vishwanathan’s case.
He was arrested six months later in the same case.