The Supreme Court held in September that Avni, known as T1, could be shot at sight, prompting opposition from animal rights activists.
According to another letter by the deputy conservator of forests, Khan deliberately concealed information about a reported sighting of Avni early on in the operation, sabotaged the forest department's attempts to capture the tigress and created a media frenzy around the case - ostensibly to create support for Avni's killing.
The state forest department had hired an expert hunter and sharpshooter, and mounted an extensive operation involving almost 200 personnel, trap cameras, drones, a pack of trained sniffer dogs and a hang-glider to trace her, broadcaster NDTV reported. "We didn't want them to eventually become enemies of wildlife", Mr. Mungantiwar said. "When we plan programmes for saving endangered species, they do not say a word". They also tried tracking her while riding elephants.
Friday night's shooting near the town of Pandharkawda has triggered controversy over the legality of Avni's killing. "Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquillise, capture and quarantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of [the minister]".
"Avni was killed illegally satisfying a hunter's lust for blood", said the Indian branch of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group. He added that the forest department will take care of them.
The big cat was blamed for 13 deaths since June 2016 but animal activists said she was trying to protect her young.
The urine of another tigress and perfume were used to lure Avni to her hunters before she was killed, a police official told NDTV.
Last night, from 6.45 pm onwards, the tigress was sighted by many villagers. When certain about the identity, a team member attempted a dart that hit it, but the tigress moved back and charged at the team, which was in a open gypsy. "So as a reflex action of self-defence, Mr. Asghar fired from a distance of about 8-10 metres". There were reports that the state government made a decision to terminate his services after the intervention of Union minister Maneka Gandhi. "The shooter was hired with the intention of killing the tigress, and that is what has happened - it is a cold-blooded murder".
The plea also sought revocation of the appointment of Hyderabad-based sharpshooter Shafaqaut Ali Khan for the job, contending that he lacked the experience of tranquillising wild animals.
"This matter must be investigated and treated as a wildlife crime".