Three undertrial prisoners facing charges of dacoity escaped from police custody while being taken to Silvassa from Thane Central Jail in Maharashtra for a court hearing, an official said on Thursday. The accused, Jairam Dalvi (21), Ganesh Dalvi (20) and Martin Madha (30), were arrested last year by Silvassa police in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and subsequently lodged in the Thane prison, senior police inspector Vilas Chowgule said. On Tuesday, while the prisoners were being taken for a court hearing in Silvassa, they complained of nausea and got down from the escort van on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway near Vasai in Palghar where they gave police the slip, he said. The escort team later approached Valiv police here and lodged an offence against the accused under Indian Penal Code Section 224 (resistance/obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension).The three prisoners were facing several cases of dacoity in Thane, Palghar, Mumbai and Gujarat, Mr. Chowgule said. A manhunt has been launched to nab the absconding accused, he added.