Bangalore - Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab have been thrown out of the Indian Premier League over ownership issues, tournament organisers said on Sunday.
The governing council of the cash-rich Twenty20 event, owned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), also issued notices to the new Kochi franchise to resolve their ownership disputes.
"The governing council of the IPL met on Sunday to discuss and decide on the breaches committed by three of the franchisees, Punjab, Rajasthan and Kochi," the BCCI said in a statement.
"It was unanimously decided that franchise agreements with Punjab and Rajasthan be terminated forthwith based on legal opinions obtained by the BCCI in the matters.
"It was further unanimously decided to issue a notice to Kochi calling upon them to resolve all their disputes and form a joint venture company which will hold the IPL Franchise rights."
The BCCI did not specify the alleged breaches committed by the franchise owners.
Kings XI Punjab was bought for 76 million dollars in 2008 by a consortium of businessmen including Ness Wadia, Mohit Burman, Karan Paul, Aditya Khanna and Bollywood actress Preity Zinta.
Rajasthan Royals was bought for 67 million dollars by businessmen Manoj Badale and Lachlan Murdoch, who were later joined by Raj Kundra and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty.
Both teams took part in the first three editions of IPL, before their ownership deals were questioned by BCCI officials who were probing financial irregularities by former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
The six other original franchises are Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Bangalore Royal Challengers, Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.
Two new franchises, Kochi and Pune, are to be added to the 2011 edition with a fresh auction of players to be held later this year.
Kundra, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, reacted strongly to the BCCI's move and threatened legal action.
"I don't see IPL 4 happening if the BCCI treats other teams like this," Kundra was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
"The termination of the contract by BCCI is shocking. We are seriously thinking of legal action. We need to see a copy of the termination notice and study it."
Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya tweeted: "I wonder if IPL franchisees are serious stakeholders whose investments and participation are respected, or are they slaves who only come and play?"
A Punjab official was hopeful of a resolution soon. "We are in shock," the official told Cricinfo. "It came out of the blue, it was absolutely unexpected."
Rajasthan Royals, captained by former Australian spin wizard Shane Warne, won the inaugural tournament in 2008.
The Punjab team included Sri Lankan stars Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Australian pace bowler Brett Lee and India's Yuvraj Singh.