The killing of tigress Avni was a sad incident and any procedural lapse in it would be probed, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Monday.
The tigress, T1, as she was known officially, was shot Friday night by sharp-shooter Asgar Ali in compartment number 149 of Borati forest under the jurisdiction of Ralegaon Police Station in the state's Yavatmal district.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Fadnavis said, "There is no happiness over the killing. The forest department took the decision since she had killed 13 to 14 people. There are some doubts regarding whether the tigress was first shot and then the dart inserted, this aspect will be probed."
Mr Fadnavis added that preliminary reports made available to him state the tigress was shot after she attacked the forest staff trying to tranquilise her.
"We speak of increasing tiger population and conserving wildlife, and then unfortunately such a decision had to be taken. The tiger is a gentleman. He attacks only if his habitat is violated. Preliminary reports with me say the tigress attacked the forest department team and she was shot in self defence," the Maharashtra CM said.
"Hunter Asghar Ali was hired by the forest department. The doubts raised regarding the killing will be verified," he added.
When asked on Union Minister Maneka Gandhi's statements on the killing, Mr Fadnavis said she had used "harsh words".
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Ms Gandhi had said, "It is nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite several requests from many stakeholders, (Sudhir) Mungantiwar, minister for forests, Maharashtra, gave orders for the killing."
Mr Fadnavis said, "She (Maneka) has used harsh words. But her sentiments should be understood. All animal lovers' sentiments are harsh regarding this incident. It was a difficult decision. Whether the procedure was correct or not will be checked."
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar also crossed swords with Ms Gandhi and claimed that the latter "lacked information" on the issue.
"Instead of lodging a complaint with the chief minister, the Union minister (Maneka Gandhi), if she wants, can order a high-level inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge or a committee of sitting Supreme Court judges into the incident," said Mungantiwar on Monday.