Sharp-shooter Navab Shafath Ali Khan, whose son Asgar shot Avni, a tigress who was believed to have killed 13 people, on Tuesday threatened to sue Union Minister Maneka Gandhi for defamation.

After the killing of tigress Avni, the Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had lashed out at the Maharashtra government.

In a series of tweets, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader termed the killing of the tigress a “ghastly murder” as she slammed Maharashtra Minister of Forests Sudhir Mungantiwar for giving the order for the killing of the tigress and the government for assigning the job to Shafat Ali Khan.

“Shafat Ali Khan has killed 3 tigers, at least 10 leopards, a few elephants and 300 wild boar in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. He is a criminal known for supplying guns to anti-nationals and for a suspected case of murder in Hyderabad,” she had tweeted on Sunday.


According to a report in the Indian Express, Shafat Ali Khan has asked the minister to prove her allegations against him first. He added that Gandhi’s tweets have created a lot of consternation among many of his friends, relatives and business associates. He is expected to consult his lawyers soon after which he will take a call on filing a case against the Union Minister.

Avni, a five-year old alleged man-eater tigress who had created terror in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha forests, was shot dead on Saturday in Yavatmal district. Authorities said that she was responsible for the deaths of 13 people in the past two years.

“I am deeply saddened by the way tigress Avni has been brutally murdered in #Yavatmal, #Maharashtra. #Justice4TigressAvni,” Gandhi had said in a tweet.


The 62-year-old MP from Pilibhit had also questioned the use of Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan in the killing of the tigress.

“Every time he has used Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan, and this time his son has also appeared in the scene illegally to murder the tigress,” Gandhi said.

Read | Lapses, if any, in the killing of tigress Avni will be probed: Devendra Fadnavis

According to reports, it was Asgar, the son of Shafat Ali, who shot Avni dead at compartment no 149 of Borati forest under the jurisdiction of the Ralegaon police station.

“His son was not authorised to kill. This is patently illegal. Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and qurantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of Sh @SMungantiwar,” alleged Gandhi.


In another tweet, Gandhi called Shafat Ali Khan “a criminal”.

Announcing her decision to take up the killing of Avni “legally, criminally as well as politically”, Gandhi said that she fails to understand why a state government should hire Khan’s services for “illegal and inhuman acts”.

The minister concluded by saying that she will also take up the matter with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Avni’s death came after nearly three months of a massive tigress-hunt along with trap cameras, drones, a pack of trained sniffer dogs and a hang-glider along with a team of forest department officials and spotters.

(With agency inputs)