We report theoretical studies of a Λ-type five-level atomic system. The density matrix equations are set up and solved numerically to obtain the probe absorption line shape of Rb D2 transitions for cold (Doppler-free) and room temperature (Doppler-broadened) atoms. Simulated spectra for Doppler-broadened systems lead to four velocity-selective dips along with an electromagnetic induced transparency (EIT) peak as observed earlier from the co-propagating pump-probe spectroscopy of Rb D2 transitions. Effects of pump power and spontaneous decay rate from the upper levels on the simulated spectra are also studied. For cold atoms a very pronounced EIT peak is observed when the pump frequency is on resonance with one allowed transition. We find that lower pump power leads to a much sharper EIT signal in this case. A simulated dispersion curve shows a rapid variation of the refractive index that may lead to a sharp reduction of the group velocity of photons. © 2007 IOP Publishing Ltd.