Three murder convicts who were being escorted back to the high-security Yerwada Jail in Pune escaped from police custody at the Katraj Ghat area, making it the third such incident of security lapse on the part of the city police in less than a week.The criminals, Raju Pathare (25) and Santosh Jagtap (30) hailed from the township of Pimpri-Chinchwad, while Santosh Chandilkar (25) is a resident of Mulshi Taluk. All three are history-sheeters with cases of robbery, possession of arms and attempt to murder lodged against them and were being lodged in Yerwada prison.According to sources, the convicts had appeared before the court in Khandala on April 10 and their next hearing was scheduled for April 21.The incident occurred on Monday night as the trio were being brought back from Khandala court in connection with a murder case. The convicts requested their police escort to stop the van as it neared the mountainous Katraj tunnel, stating that they needed to relieve themselves.They managed to hoodwink their guard and disappear as the police searched in vain for them. A massive manhunt is underway.The incident comes less than 48 hours after a murder suspect and his aide escaped from the city’s Khadki police station last Sunday.Siraj Allauddin Qureshi (40), the leader of a criminal gang in Khadki, was nabbed on April 1 in connection with hacking a 21-year-old college student, Yogiraj Khandale, to death on March 31.The police had also arrested 12 others for their alleged involvement in the murder. A local court had remanded all suspects in police custody till April 10.Qureshi, complaining of diarrhoea, had requested a change of place. He then escaped along with another suspect who was brought in for questioning in connection with the same murder in the wee hours of Sunday, leading the city police to spread a massive dragnet to nab the criminal.The station duty officer of the Khadki police station, along with two constables on the night watch, has been suspended.Last Saturday, yet another criminal, Kailas Yadav (42), who was taken into custody in a case of alleged criminal intimidation, broke out from the Erandwane police station.