An initial medical examination has ruled out the possibility of rape in the case where four women alleged they were assaulted while travelling on the Jewar-Bulandshahr highway, Hindustan Times reported on Friday.

Addressing media persons at a press conference, Gautam Budh Nagar’s chief medical officer Dr Anurag Bhargav said that clothes and tissue samples will be sent to a forensic laboratory in Lucknow for further investigation.

Bhargav said the preliminary examination showed no vaginal injury or presence of semen. The results of the forensic test are expected to be ready within three weeks. Noida District Magistrate BN Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Love Kumar, who were also at the press conference, said the gangrape charge will remain until forensic evidence proves otherwise.

“We have roped in cops from neighbouring states and are hopeful of cracking the case soon,” Kumar said.

Meanwhile, a police special task force took in five men for questioning on Friday. Police had detained the five men on Thursday, they had released them later, The Hindu reported. The report said they were questioned based on reports that women had identified three of the six assailants as her neighbours. However, one of the women is believed to have withdrawn her statement because of a property dispute, police said.

“We will get a final statement recorded before the magistrate on Saturday,” Jewar Police Station in charge Rajpal Tomar told The Hindu.

On Thursday, a family of eight was travelling to Bulandshahr from Greater Noida when they were ambushed by the gang – comprising six members – around 1.30 am. The family alleged that the gang first looted their cash and valuables and then raped the women. Police had deployed two teams to track down the attackers. A male relative trying to rescue the women was shot dead during the attack.

In July 2016, a group of highway robbers raped a woman and her 13-year-old daughter in Bulandshahr. The incident had led to widespread protests, and political backlash for the Akhilesh Yadav government, which was in power at the time.

The brutal crime on the highway has revived questions about lawlessness and poor policing in Uttar Pradesh. The state government is already being criticised by the Opposition for its failure to control communal clashes in Saharanpur.